Crime

Illegal behavior defined by existing criminal law / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority.[1] The term crime does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,[2] though statutory definitions have been provided for certain purposes.[3] The most popular view is that crime is a category created by law; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law.[2] One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society, or the state ("a public wrong"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.[1][4]

The notion that acts such as murder, rape, and theft are to be prohibited exists worldwide.[5] What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by the criminal law of each relevant jurisdiction. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code, in some common law nations no such comprehensive statute exists.

The state (government) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty for committing a crime. In modern societies, there are procedures to which investigations and trials must adhere. If found guilty, an offender may be sentenced to a form of reparation such as a community sentence, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment, life imprisonment or, in some jurisdictions, death.

Usually, to be classified as a crime, the "act of doing something criminal" (actus reus) must ā€“ with certain exceptions ā€“ be accompanied by the "intention to do something criminal" (mens rea).[4]

While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law counts as a crime. Breaches of private law (torts and breaches of contract) are not automatically punished by the state, but can be enforced through civil procedure.

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