Almost everything we do is governed by some set of rules. There are rules for games, for social clubs, for the sports people play and for adults in the workplace. There are also rules governed by a moral compass within a person that play an important role in telling us what we should and should not do. However, some rules that are made by the state or the courts are called “laws”. Laws resemble our moral compass because they are designed to control the way we do things and determine what is right and what is wrong.
But unlike our own moral compasses, laws are enforced by the courts; if you break a law, even if you like that law or not, you may be forced to pay a fine or go to prison. The purpose of laws is to help keep our society under control and provide a safe place for people to live. If people did not live in a structured society there would be not need for laws.
People would simply do as they please, with little regard for the people around them. But ever since individuals began to live in societies laws have been the glue that has kept people living together in some sort of structure. For example, the law in The United States states that we must drive our cars at a certain speed limit that changes in certain areas. If drivers were aloud to pick whatever speed they would like to drive at driving would be dangerous and chaotic. People would be injured and or killed if two drivers driving at too extremely different speeds met on the same road. Laws regulating our civil affairs help to ensure that people can live together and that disputes can be resolved between two parties.
Laws against criminal conduct help to safeguard our personal property and our lives (Robinson, 1994). Even in a well-ordered society, people have disagreements and conflicts arise. The law must provide a way to resolve these disputes peacefully. If two people claim to own the same piece of property the matter is not settled by a duel, people turn to the law and to the courts to decide who is the real owner and to make sure that the real owner’s rights are respected (Diffen, 2009). Laws help to ensure a safe and peaceful society in which individuals’ rights are respected. In our society, laws are not only designed to govern people’s lives, they are also intended to give effect to social policies.
For example, some laws provide for benefits when workers are injured on the job, for health care, as well as for loans to students who otherwise might not be able to go to a college or university (Find Law). Another goal of the law is fairness. This means that the law should recognize and protect certain basic individual rights and freedoms, such as liberty and equality. The law also serves to ensure that strong groups and individuals do not use their powerful positions in society to take unfair advantage of weaker individuals. The law is a set of rules for society, designed to protect basic rights and freedoms, and to treat everyone fairly. These rules can be divided into two basic categories: civil law and criminal law. Depending on which type of case you are facing, the procedures and results can be very different.
Criminal law generally focuses on actions that are considered dangerous or harmful for the people in a society. In contrast, civil law usually resolves disputes between individuals or individual properties. Because the actions on an individual that broke the law are thought of being done against the state, in criminal law, the prosecutor works on behalf of the state (Cornell University, 2010). Likewise, civil prosecutors work on the behalf of individuals.
Criminal law deals with everything from fraud to arson and murder. A jury, a judge, or a panel of judges that then decide on the punishment that will or will not be granted usually proceeds over criminal law cases (Cornell University, 2010). Criminal law serves several purposes and benefits society in multiple ways. These laws help at maintaining order in a society. Criminal law provides predictability, letting people know what to expect from others. Without criminal law, there would be chaos and uncertainty. Resolving disputes is another way that criminal laws benefit the society that we live in. The law makes it possible to resolve conflicts and disputes between quarreling citizens. It provides a peaceful, orderly way to handle disputes.
One of the main functions of these laws is to protect individuals and their property. Criminal law protects citizens from criminals who would inflict physical harm on others or take their possessions. These laws help protect an individuals rights. By providing a pathway for a smooth functioning society criminal law helps enable the government to collect taxes, control pollution and accomplish beneficial tasks for our society (Diffen, 2009).
Civil laws, in contrast, seeks to resolve non-criminal disputes such as disagreements over the meaning of contracts, property ownership, divorce, child custody, and damages for personal and property damage (The Missouri Bar, 2006). The purpose of civil law is to provide a legal remedy to solve problems. If two parties have a contract, for example, and one accuses the other of breaking the contract, the case can be brought before a civil court. In addition, a case where the ownership of property is considered is a civil law case as well.
Punishment is what helps the laws that are passes to be followed. If there were no punishment for the laws that are created there would be no reason for the society to follow these laws because there would be not repercussions for doing the wrong thing. There would be no purpose for the laws. Punishment is what some people in a society fear enough that they follow the laws that are presented to them. The notion that the threat of punishment will deter criminal conduct is based on the principle that human beings are rational (Standler, 1998). By disregarding the laws criminals can be considered not rational in their belief that they will not be caught by the police for breaking the law.
In criminal law, a guilty defendant is punished by either being put in a jail or prison, being made to pay a fine to the government, or, in exceptional cases, the death penalty is given. These crimes are divided into two different classes. Felonies have a maximum possible punishment of more than one year of incarceration. Meanwhile misdemeanors have a maximum possible punishment of less than one year of incarceration (Attorneys, 2011). In contrast, a defendant in civil litigation is never incarcerated and never given the death penalty. In general, a losing defendant in civil litigation only reimburses the plaintiff for losses caused by the defendant’s behavior (Standler, 1998).
Laws made by the state or the courts help rule our everyday lives. These laws are made to resemble our moral compass by helping a society determine what is right and what is wrong. The law is a set of rules for society, designed to protect basic rights and freedoms, and to treat everyone fairly. These rules can be divided into two basic categories: civil law and criminal law.
Criminal law generally focuses on actions that are considered dangerous or harmful for the people in a society while in contrast, civil law resolves disputes between individuals or individual properties. Punishment helps keep these laws enforced by showing a society what can happen if the laws are broken. Laws are an important part in our society because they help keep our society in order and protect the citizens who live within that society.
ReferencesCriminal Law. (2010, August 19). Retrieved May 3, 2013, from Cornell University Law School website: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/criminal_law Diffen. (2009). Civil Law vs Criminal Law. Retrieved from Diffen website: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Civil_Law_vs_Criminal_Law Health Care Law. (n.d.). Retrieved from Find Law website: http://healthcare.findlaw.com The Missouri Bar. (2006). What is Civil Law [Newsgroup post]. Retrieved from Civics Library Of The Missouri Bar website: http://members.mobar.org/civics/whatiscivillaw.htm Robinson, P. H. (1994). A FUNCTIONAL ANALYSIS OF CRIMINAL LAW [Doc].
Retrieved from https://litigation-essentials.lexisnexis.com/webcd/app?action=DocumentDisplay&crawlid=1&doctype=cite&docid=88+Nw.+U.L.+Rev.+857&srctype=smi&srcid=3B15&key=d6292553e38d688f0654198ebf6670ab Standler, R. B. (1998). Differences between Civil and Criminal Law in the USA [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.rbs2.com/cc.htm What are Felonies and Misdemeanors. (2011). Retrieved May 4, 2013, from Attorneys website: http://www.attorneys.com/criminal-defense/felonies-and-misdemeanors/