Personal Crimes

Personal crimes are of various types among them is homicide which is of three levels/degree. First degree murder, felony murder and manslaughter; first degree murder is intentional and preplanned/premeditated. Intentional is the mens rea of the crime or the necessary intention to commit the crime. Intentional on the other hand is the knowledge, planning and malice which motivate to commit the crime. Felony murder is where murder occurs where a victim dies in the process of another crime like burglary, rape, arson or mayhem.

E. g. a teller in a bank may be ordered at gun point to open a safe; unfortunately the victim develops a heart attack due to this experience. It does not matter whether the murder was intended or unanticipated, if the victim dies during the commission of the crime, it is treated as a felonious murder. Killing someone lawfully as in self-defense by someone who did not have malice aforethought constitutes manslaughter. This is separate from murder and tends to carry a reduced sentence since the conditions of its commission mitigates it.

For example if someone kills in self-defense, the actions are ruled justified rendering the crime an entirely different legal situation. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person commits a crime due to provocation as in where two people get into a fight and one accidentally kills the other. Involuntary manslaughter occurs as a result of negligence. The killer was neither provoked nor was he/she mean to kill anyone but his/her negligence led to death of a person as in the case of reckless driving causing accidents leading to loss of lives.

Assault is carried out by a threat of bodily harm together with apparent, present ability to cause harm. It sis both a crime and a TORT and, therefore may lead to either criminal or civil liability. The punishment for criminal assault is fine imprisonment, or both. For example if someone attacks the other with a knife injures but does not kill. Assault is only the threat of violence where the threat is not yet carried out. In most cases four factors must be present to constitute an assault i.

e. there must be apparent and present ability to carry the act out, it has to be an unlawful attempt and intent of committing an injury must be present and presence of reasonable fear on the side of the victim of bodily injury. Battery is when threats of violence issued are carried out. Therefore battery is intentional unpermitted act causing harmful or offensive contact with the ‘person’ of another. Battery is concerned with right to have one’s body left alone by others.

The following elements must be proven to establish a case for battery one has to prove an act by a defendant, intent to cause harmful or offensive contact on the part of the defendant and harmful or offensive contact to the plaintiff. Mayhem is the act of unlawfully and violently depriving another of the use of such of his members as may render him/her less able in fighting either to defend themselves or annoy their adversaries and therefore cutting or disabling, weakening a man’s hand, or striking out his eye or fore tooth, or depriving them which their loss abates their courage are held as mayhem.

Rape refers to non-consensual sexual intercourse that is committed by physical force, threat of injury or other duress. The lack of consent can involve the victims’ inability to say ‘no’ to intercourse to effects of drugs or alcohol. It is at times called sexual assault. Sexual relations that involve someone below the age of consent amount to statutory rape and is a violation of the law. These statutory laws vary from state to state with each state setting the age of consent differently as well as using different terms to refer to this crime.

Many states punish statutory rape under laws touching sexual assault, rape, unlawful sexual intercourse or carnal intercourse with a minor. Statutory rape differs from other types of rapes and child molestation in that the act would not be a crime if all participants were above the age on consent. Unlike ‘forcible rape’, statutory rape can involve underage participants who willingly engage in sexual relations. However, because those under the age of consent cannot give legal consent to sex, the act is a crime whether or not force is involved.

Law punishing statutory rape often includes a spectrum of offences ranging from misdemeanors to high level felonies. Several factors affect the level of offence for an act of statutory rape: the age of the victim and the age difference between the victim and the perpetrator, any prior sex offences committed by the offender, whether drugs or alcohol were involved, and whether pregnancy resulted. Statutory rape is a state sex crime that can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor offence and may be punished by incarceration, fine, probation, and or registry as a sex offender depending on the state and circumstances of the incident.

However, one can be charged with the attempt to commit a crime. Attempt means one had the intention of committing a crime, took some steps towards committing the crime but for some reason did not complete it. For example one may go to a bank and demand money from a teller at gunpoint. If an alarm rings and he/she runs out of the bank before he could get the money, he would be charged with attempted robbery, the conviction of which carries a lesser sentence to committing the crime.