What Are the Characteristics of Criminal Law?

The characteristics of criminal law can be described in several ways. First, it is an attempt to prevent crime. Second, it has a purpose and justification. Third, it should use language that will discourage crime. These three characteristics define criminal law. These characteristics should be incorporated into law-making. In addition, the language used should be clear, understandable, and comprehensible. These characteristics make criminal law a unique and vital type of law.


The general justification for criminal law is to prevent moral wrongs and hold people accountable for their actions. This justification of criminal law has some critics, however. They claim that criminal law is far too general, and many wrongdoings are not covered under it. For example, failure to move a house for a friend may be a culpable act, but it is still not a crime and occurs in other jurisdictions.

The general justification for criminal law stems from two different values: preventing harm and preventing moral wrongdoing. Some writers appeal to one or the other, while others draw on both. In either case, the purpose of criminal law is to address a moral wrong that is done in society and needs to be addressed. Justification for criminal law aims to protect society and its members. 


Criminal law deals with various crimes, from infractions to more violent felonies like murder. The penalties for criminal offences are set out in statutes and can range from a small fine to years in jail. Violent felonies, in contrast, can be punishable by death or life in prison. The purpose of criminal law is to protect society and provide justice for victims. There are many ways in which criminal law helps to protect society.

Another purpose of criminal law is to keep the community safe and free of crimes. It also protects the crime victims and ensures justice is served. Criminal law also serves to deter future crimes by imposing punishments on perpetrators. The threat of punishment can deter an offender from committing crimes in the first place. The more serious a person’s offence is, the higher their sentence will be. However, a minor infraction of the law can result in severe punishment.

Justification of punishment

A popular justification for punishment is the protection of society and the victim. The condemnation of an offender can be communicated through formal conviction in a criminal court or expressed in a system of purely symbolic punishments. 

In criminal law, a justification must be found. The term ‘punishment’ must be distinguished from the infliction of pain on an innocent person. The latter can be justified when the victim is not guilty. Therefore, the retributionist cannot legitimately request justification of punishment if the victim is innocent. The second justification must be based on a broader principle. It must be noted that retributive justification cannot be relied on in a criminal case if the victim is not guilty. To learn more about jurisdiction, ask Jameson Law’s Criminal Law Solicitors as soon as possible.


The Criminal Code aims to make the law more meaningful and explicit. However, the language of criminal law has its inherent value for its meaning, beauty, and historical resonance. 

The evolution of the language of criminal law began around 1500. Earlier, crimes were defined by their consequence, purpose, and mental state. In later centuries, definitions of crimes became more abstract and general. Nowadays, killing a person is considered an act of criminal activity. It is a violation of public law. In the United States, the court system is subordinate to the prison system. But, even then, the common law remains essential to criminal law.

Hart’s ideas have occupied legal philosophers ever since. A linguistic conception of law and an explanation of how language shapes norms have long occupied legal philosophers. By emphasizing the use of language in the law, the language of the law is presented as conferring rights and imposing obligations. But the language of the law also has a symbolic dimension. And as Hart argues, the linguistic aspects of the law are essential to what we know about the law.

A vital part of the Criminal Code is the mens rea doctrine. This doctrine protects an individual against false accusations and incursions by the state. To be guilty of an offence, the defendant must have the mens rea, or knowledge, to commit the crime. The jury will look at the circumstances of the crime and the testimony of the accused. The jury’s testimony will also play a role in the factual construction of the case.

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