Staying Calm In Court

It's A Criminal Matter: Understanding Criminal Categories

People are capable of perpetrating many types of crimes, but the law tends to categorize them into a few main sections. Below are listed four primary crime categories: statutory, inchoate, property, and personal. 

Statutory Crimes

This category encompasses a wide variety of crimes that can be roughly divided into traffic offenses, driving under the influence (DUI) charges, financial crimes, and drug crimes. In general, this category contains statutes that are aimed at reducing the impact of certain crimes that tend to harm society as a whole. For example, DUI statutes may be extremely punitive in the hopes of acting as a deterrent to others and keeping the roads safer. Financial crimes, sometimes referred to as "white collar" crimes, usually involve fraud, embezzlement, or money laundering.

Inchoate Crimes

This category contains crimes that may require the participation of another or are an attempt at perpetrating a crime even if it failed to come to fruition. When you are part of a crime, you may be charged with aiding and abetting or conspiracy. For serious crimes like homicide, those found to be guilty of aiding and abetting could face homicide charges even if they did not carry out the crime themselves. With attempted crimes, the offender must take substantial steps to carry out a crime.

Property Crimes

As the name suggests, these crimes all involve property of some sort. When someone is injured in the commission of a property crime, that is a separate charge from a different category (personal crimes). Common property crimes are burglary, robbery, arson, vandalism, and more. The property in question can be either personal property or retail goods or involve structures like a home or business. You don't, by the way, have to steal something to be charged with a property crime like burglary. Any time you enter a home or business without permission, you could be committing burglary whether you remove anything from the premises or not.

Personal Crimes

The final category involves crimes in which harm comes to a person. Homicide is the most serious personal crime as are rape and kidnapping. Many personal crimes are felonious in nature and prison terms are not uncommon for perpetrators. Most personal crimes are of a violent nature and the charges can vary by the intent (premeditated murder vs. manslaughter) or by the degree.

If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime, you must seek help. Speak to a criminal lawyer about your case as soon as possible.