Criminal Law Basics

The field of criminal law enforces behavior codes laid out in both federal and state law. When a person breaks the rules set forth in the criminal or penal codes, he or she can be subject to discipline. Penalties for breaking criminal laws may include jail time, fines, community service, probation, or even death in some instances. However, criminal law also puts important safeguards in place for those accused of breaking the rules to ensure that only the guilty are punished for their actions, and that punishments fit the crime.

To learn more about the criminal laws in place in the United States, including details about protections and potential penalties, explore the links to criminal law articles and answers to frequently asked questions on this page.