In general, there are many different kinds of crimes that the criminal justice system deals with on a regular basis. These crimes can be divided into different categories depending on the characteristics of the crime itself. For example, some criminal actions can be classified as violent or non-violent crimes, hate crimes, or even property crimes. Two such categories that are used to differentiate between criminal activities are known as natural crime and legal crime. While the two categories, and the crimes within them, have differences between them, some similarities can also be found.
A natural crime is any action that is considered morally or ethically wrong, although the action may not be legally prohibited. Natural crimes are actions that violate natural law, which is defined as fully specific moral norms which require or forbid (sometimes with, sometimes without exceptions) certain specific possible choices (George, 1999). Natural crimes can also be defined using the term mala in se, meaning offenses which are wrong such from their own nature, at common law, irrespective of statute (Mala in se, n.d.). For example, the malicious murder of another human being is an action that is seen as a natural crime because it violates globally accepted moral standards.
On the other hand, a legal crime is any action that violates a law or statute of society. In contrast to natural crimes, legal crimes are actions that violate positive law, defined as enacted law -- the codes, statutes, and regulations that are applied and enforced in the courts (Black, 1999). The term mala prohibita, defined as offenses prohibited by statute, can be used in place of legal crimes (Mala prohibita, n.d). Legal crimes are basically actions that the legislative faction of society would like to control. For example, carrying a concealed weapon is not morally wrong. The action does not harm anyone, but there is a law stating that carrying a concealed weapon is wrong. Although there is a difference between natural crime and legal crime, there is a similarity between the two.
There is only one valid similarity between the two types of crimes and that similarity should be common knowledge. Both types of crimes are wrong to partake in, whether it is because of moral or legal restrictions. For one reason or another, both types of crimes are wrong in and of themselves. That being said, there are no other similarities between the groups based on the fact that the defining characteristics of each group conflict so as to not allow for any. Natural crimes are just that because they violate natural laws, and legal crimes are only illegal because there are laws against, not because of any moral standards.
To further define and provide examples of natural crime and legal crime, I will use the eight index crimes reported on by the F.B.I. These crimes include murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft...