When we think of criminal law the first thing that usually comes to our minds are the things that we have on the common television shows. Shows like Law & Order seem so real that we believe it must be true. But there are so many facets of it that we do not think about let along understand.
Anyone who desires to pursue a career in criminal law and to become an attorney at law must understand the basics of the entire procedure and what goes into it. Each law is decided upon and based by how dangerous the governing bodies believe that action to be to other citizens. These sanctioning bodies will decide upon what the punishment should be.
For some crimes the punishment is a slap on the wrist and a hefty fine. For others it requires a few months to a few years in jail. Obviously the more intense the crime the harsher the punishment. Some criminals if convicted will be sentenced to a lifetime imprisonment or in some states the death penalty. A person is found guilty of their crime when they plead guilty to the court or they are tried by a jury and found to be guilty.
There are many people who contribute to criminal law. The person who is being accused, the police officers who bring them in, the attorneys that are prosecuting, the attorneys who are defending, judges, probation officers, bail bondsmen, witnesses, and finally the corrections officers. Because of this there are many stages to the procedure.
But though the suspect has been caught it does not yet mean that he is guilty of his crime. According to the justice system the defendant is innocent until proven guilty and as such has certain Constitutional rights. One of the most important of these is their right to a defense attorney and a trial.
Both sides of the law (defense and prosecution) will bring their evidence before the jury panel and try to persuade their case. One all of the evidence has been shown and the witnesses have all spoken the jury will deliberate and make their decision. If the person is found guilty another trial will be held to decide the punishment.