Criminal law basically classifies crime into various categories that dictates the kind of criminal act, the mental condition, and the extent of punishment. The most common categories of crime are crime against persons, white-collar crimes, and crimes against property. Moreover, crime is further categorized by the selected punishment for the offense such as misdemeanor, felony, and petty misdemeanor. A felony is regarded as the most serious offense that is punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year while misdemeanors are offenses that are punishable by imprisonment of a maximum of one year. This is primarily because they are less serious crimes that do not involve incarceration in prison (Schneider, n.d.). Actually, almost all misdemeanor sentences are usually served in a local or county jail. In contrast, petty misdemeanors are crimes that do not need imprisonment such as that are always punishable by a fine.
Crimes against Persons and Crimes against Property:
Crimes against persons are the most serious offenses because they involve physical harm to another individual (Schneider, n.d.). As a result, this category of crimes is also referred to as violent crimes to an extent that a huge percentage of these offenses are felonies. Some major examples of crimes against persons include homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and assault and battery. Crimes against persons normally require that the crime involve the use of a degree of force or placing the victim in fear of physical harm. Therefore, each crime under this category requires the threat of a violent act or a violent act itself. For instance, homicide is a violent crime that results in the death of another individual due to heat of the moment, recklessness, or premeditation.
Unlike crimes against persons, crimes against property do not always involve force or fear of harm. They are offenses that are regarded as acts of damaging or trying to gain the property of another person. The most common crimes against property that damage another person’s property include vandalism, trespass, and arson. In contrast, larceny, forgery, theft, and burglary are offenses that attempt to gain another person’s property (Crossman, n.d.). Since offenses that damage another individual’s property may involve violent acts that do not cause physical injury, these crimes are not categorized with other violent offenses. Actually, the main goal of these offenses is to damage the property regardless of the probability of harm to a person.
Statute and Case on Crime against Persons:
An example of a criminal case and statute illustrating crimes against persons is State v. Stewart case in which the defendant appealed convictions for two distinct counts of battery against a household member. The defendant also appealed convictions for one count of child abuse, negligent cruelty to animals, and two charges of aggravated battery. These convictions originates from acts that occurred in a five-hour period in which he alternately punched, slapped, and kicked his girlfriend, son, and the family’s puppy (“State v. Stewart,” n.d.).
In his appeal, the defendant argued that his two distinct convictions for battery against his girlfriend infringed double jeopardy since the assaults were not adequately separate. In addition, he argues that convictions of aggravated battery and child abuse infringed double jeopardy since child abuse is a precise kind of aggravated battery. He also stated that there was inadequate evidence to convict him of negligent cruelty to animals since the evidence only showed that his actions were intentional when kicking the puppy.
Based on these submissions, the statute under evaluation in determining the case is the double jeopardy statute depending on its relation to crimes against persons. The court examined the defendant’s double jeopardy and statutory construction arguments de novo (“State v. Stewart,” n.d.). The specific elements of crimes and requisite burden of proof was the need for the defendant to prove that his several acts during that morning were not adequate to justify three counts of battery of girlfriend and child as well as cruelty to animals. In this case, the defendant argued that separate convictions violated double jeopardy and that he acted intentionally in kicking the puppy.
However, the court argued that the evidence provided at trial was sufficient to justify separate convictions. The court also concluded that the general or specific rule is inapplicable to the underlying statutes and child abuse is not a particular kind of misdemeanor aggravated battery. With regards to negligent cruelty to animals, the jury concluded that there was sufficient evidence to convict the defendant because he acted with a higher mens rea than required by the statute. The court examined various factors including the temporal proximity of the two charged incidents, location of the victim during each incident, existence of any intervening events, his intentions based on conduct and utterances, and sufficiency of evidence on negligent cruelty on animals.
Statute and Case on Crime against Property:
The Florida State statue on theft is an example of a statute on crime against property that states that an individual commits theft if he/she knowingly obtains or use, or attempts to obtain or use, another person’s property with the intention of temporarily or permanently depriving the person of a right to the property (“Crimes Against Property,” n.d.). The statute is also applicable if the individual seeks to use a property that he/she is not entitled to. This statute was used in determining a case where the defendant, Robert H. Bonanno appealed to the District Court of Appeal regarding the conviction of robbery with a deadly weapon. He argued that the trial court erred in allowing his case to continue despite voluntarily absenting himself since the jury was selected before being sworn. He also argued against the conviction by stating that the trial judge erred in instructing the jury regarding the robbery elements.
According to the Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure, a trial should continue as though the defendant is present if the defendant voluntarily absents himself from the trail after being present at the beginning. Secondly, the instruction from the trial judge to the jury was that the element of robbery was a temporary or permanent intention to deprive the victim of his property. Therefore, there was no error in the conviction based on the law of Florida, which made the court to uphold the ruling of the trial court (“Crimes Against Property,” n.d.).
Crimes against persons and crimes against property differ significantly with regards to kind of criminal act, mental state, and punishment. Generally, crimes against persons are geared towards causing physical injury to an individual while crimes against property are geared towards depriving an individual a right or benefit to property. However, the determination of cases involving these crimes requires an understanding of the statutes and case law interpretations. Criminal justice professionals should understand them in order to ensure effectiveness of the process and ruling.
Crossman, A. (n.d.). Types of Crimes. Retrieved March 8, 2013, from http://sociology.about.com/od/Deviance/a/Types-Of-Crimes.htm
“Crimes Against Property.” (n.d.). Chapter 13. Retrieved March 8, 2013, from http://www.sagepub.com/lippmanccl2e/study/supplements/Florida/FL13.pdf
Schneider, S.W. (n.d.). Types of Crimes. Retrieved March 8, 2013, from http://www.netplaces.com/paralegal/criminal-law/types-of-crimes.htm
“State v. Stewart.” (n.d.). Justia.com — U.S. Law. Retrieved March 8, 2013, from http://law.justia.com/cases/new-mexico/court-of-appeals/2005/f580-1c753-1cc91.html
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