Law Essay Example
Speaking about criminal charges I can’t help saying that nowadays the whole procedure is not as it was before and each aspect of it should be taken into consideration. My research paper deals with the problem of what a person should do if he was charged and what future awaits him.
First of all I’d like to say that criminal situation as a special level of interaction with social environment should be taken into account in the first place. Unfavorable conditions of moral formation can contribute into person’s criminal activity. In such a way in order to make a clear and justified verdict, all the circumstances must be examined. Crimes can also be committed without criminal’s will. For example, alcohol may cause unlawful actions.
It is important to mention what a person can be charged with. There can be different offences such as misdemeanors, like stealing or beating, or a felony, which may be a murder or a terrorist action. The person who was charged can be arrested only after the investigation is finished. The offences are registered by the police, in order to keep an eye on the criminal who may commit the second offence. On the other hand the registration of a crime may spoil future life of a person, especially in case of juvenile delinquency. If a charge is considerable, it becomes lawful to arrest the criminal.
In order to understand how to behave yourself if you were charged, I’d like to examine the kinds of infractions in a more detailed way. An infraction is a crime against social norms and interests. Civil infractions are investigated without jury; that is why it is mostly a short proceeding. An infraction is characterized as a volitional action, which makes harm to social and personal interests. The gravity of a crime is judged according to its consequences. Civil infractions can be proved either by the predominance of evidences, or beyond the reasonable doubt. Petty offences are not serious anti-social actions, which are usually fined. If a person is not sure whether he was charged with a petty offence or a serious crime, it would be better to ask a lawyer. Finally I’d like to clear out the concepts of “misdemeanor” and “felony”. Charges with a misdemeanor usually result in criminal records, because it is not as serious as a felony, in spite the fact that its results may be quite significant. In case of a misdemeanor the criminal can be imprisoned, probated or fined. For example, car accidents need special investigation, which may result in either imprisonment or license sanctions, depending on the situation. Solicitations are also considered to be misdemeanors. If the crime was not severe, the police keep a file on it and register the offender. The criminal situation, consisting of a number of obstacles, can be provoked either by outer factors, or psychological state of a person. Sometimes a significant turn in person’s life can make them commit a crime. People who commit especially grave crimes usually possess deep antisocial features. Such people are likely to be engaged in the criminal activity again, even after a severe punishment.
A felony is characterized with the gravest consequences. They include murder, sexual offend, burglary, vandalism and terrorism. Stealing money from the working place is also included into this category.
Criminals have right of appeal and revise the charge, if they have evidences of their innocence. An important aspect is the presumption of innocence – a person is considered to be innocent until his guilt is officially proved by the court. Another aspect is humanistic and justful punishment, which means that a person have right to appeal for pardon or less severe verdict.
In order to understand whether the charge was justified or not, it is important to understand the difference between an infraction and a crime. Civil infractions usually include driving violations, which may be not only car accidents, but invalid driving license as well. Sometimes traffic misdemeanors may result in a requirement to come to the court for further investigation. If it is a civil infraction a person is not necessarily required to appear in court. It is possible to send money as a fine by mail. But firstly it is important to read the fine ticket thoroughly in order to avoid greater problems. A person who has been accused in small offenses has fewer rights, than a person charged with burglary, for example. If the crime was convicted, but the criminal wasn’t imprisoned, he has no right for a lawyer, who would help to revise the charge. But on the whole, a felony and a misdemeanor have mostly similar rights and may differ only by the seriousness of punishment.
Some people ask how they can know that they were charged with a violation, if they were not arrested and taken to the police office. If a person doesn’t know he was charged with a crime, he can’t contact a lawyer in time. A lawyer however would help to make the offense not so serious, although it is quite difficult to improve the situation after the issue of the warrant. That’s why a person should always be informed by the police officer. In other cases the officer can arrest the criminal immediately and take him to the police for further examination.
In the police office the person is asked for the identification and whether he was arrested before or not. The officers should search a person for additional evidences, which can be later presented in the court. A person who was charged with a crime must receive the evidences of his guilt from the prosecutor. After this it would be possible to provide a defense. There are different types of defenses which are common and widely used. One is to reject the quilt. Another one is to confess, but explain the reasons for anti-social behavior. The accused are presumed to be innocent until the guilt is proved officially by the judge. The accused may present an argument that there is a reasonable doubt, and this would help him to prove innocence. If the prosecutor has no significant evidences that the accused is to blame, then he is free. Innocence can also be proved by an alibi, which means that the person was in some other place at the time the violation took place. An alibi includes a visit to the cinema, attendance at some meeting or concert.
Women and underage children have right for a special defense. It means that their rights and interests should be treated carefully, taking into consideration their character and peculiarities. Now women and children have more personal rights, protecting them from oppression and encroachment. At the same time more and more children are charged with misdemeanors and even felonies. There are more cases of murder, physical harm, raping, burglary, vandalism, hooliganism or terrorism, committed by young people. These cases are especially severe and should be investigated thoroughly before making a criminal charge. Most people think that juvenile delinquency is the first step to long criminal career, if the young criminal was not isolated and watched. As a result severe verdict of the judges may ruin the whole life of a child. It’s hard for children with criminal past to go abroad, study in a prestigious university, let alone employ for a high position. Criminal charge ruins the future of young children. Taking into account that most juvenile crimes are committed under the influence of certain social groups, the child who is supposed to be guilty, can have little connection to the crime itself. A child may play a secondary role in the crime, but the very engagement in it will be harmful to his future.
After being charged a person may be asked to appear in court. If it is the first requirement, it is called “first appearance”. In this case a person will be told what he was charged with. If a person doesn’t have an attorney, it is important to find him before the trial, but one should do it as quickly as possible, as preparation for the case need much time. If a person still hasn’t got a lawyer at the day of the trial, the judge provides an opportunity to represent oneself without a lawyer, although it would be extremely difficult and less successful. If the accused is not able to afford a lawyer, still it is possible to phone to the Legal Aid office and ask for help. The appearance ticket contains information about the time and place of the trial.
If a person said he was not to blame at the first appearance, and then he changed his mind, it is better to inform the judge about these changes. A person hasn’t right to plea guilty until he confesses that it was him to commit the crime. The criminal record (if it is available) should be shown to the judge. The accused be thoroughly prepared for defense. Before being sentenced the judge will ask about out-of-ordinary circumstances, and then the verdict will be read.
Then the criminal is either free, or imprisoned, or fined. For a long time imprisonment was associated with the rehabilitation of criminals, and their return to law-abiding life. Thus, in reality such kinds of punishment are not always efficient. Prisoners are no longer physically punished. But still most criminals undergo other types of punishment. Some of them are deprived of freedom, income, social status, family, former friends, or at least personal things. Life in such conditions is more likely to deepen criminal’s inner disorder, than adoption him to social norms.