Criminal Law Basics Essay

1620 words - 6 pages

“ Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime.” (Wikipedia, 2014) This law encompasses several different aspects of our government and the ways used to regulate them. Maintaining the peace and order of the public is one aspect. Law enforcement officers also try to keep good conduct of the public. Anyone who places the safety of the public in jeopardy, is in violation of this law. Punishment is used in a variety of ways to discipline any person who breaks these laws. There are four main sources used in today’s criminal law:
• Constitutional law – body of law that includes guidelines and rules used to ensure the correct meaning of the constitution. This law also governs the actions set by the United States Constitution. (Wikipedia, 2014)
• Administrative law – body of law that consists of creating and establishing administration agencies. Rules, responsibilities, regulations, and the powers used by these agencies are also developed under this law. Agencies such as the Social Security Administration and Welfare Commissions are two agencies included in this law. Usually, the creations of these agencies were made to provide their applicants with benefits. (School, Administrative Law)
• Statutory law – this body of law is crucial to the safety of the public. How our different bodies of government function and many of the laws within them are based on the above law. The outline used for today’s society and how justice is maintained comes from this law. (Demand Media, 2011) Mainly these laws are written and set by governing authorities in response to the needs of the public or civil order. (Statutory law - Definition, 2010)
• Case law/Common law – body of law developed over time by higher courts. Laws are created around previous decisions made in a trial. These laws must have a beginning that stems from specific facts to be legal. A judge is able to make a law from the use of interpreting the law on a case by case basis. (USLegal, 2001-2014)

For a police officer to legally arrest a person the officer must first obtain a valid search warrant or have substantial probable cause for the arrest. A warrant is usually written by a judge or other competent officers. The purpose of a warrant is to allow actions that would be considered illegal normally and provides the executor protection from the actions that would normally be considered illegal. (Delich, 2014) There are three types of warrant that are most prevalent in criminal law. These include:
• Search warrant – order that is signed by an impartial judge that allows an officer to search a property. A search warrant must include a specified location and time for the search of certain objects or materials. Only the property that that was detailed in the warrant and the search and likewise anything seized during the search. (Law for All, 2014)
• Bench warrant –a variant of an arrest warrant that authorizes the immediate arrest of an individual. Bench warrants are often...

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