Five Objectives of Criminal Law
Every day, crimes are committed across the world. Just in 2019, around 8,171,087 crimes were committed in the United States, whether against people, property, or statutes themselves.
Criminal Law is the field of Law that deals with the type of transgressions considered “crimes”, and can be defined as “the body of law that defines criminal offenses, regulates the apprehension, charging, and trial of suspected persons, and fixes penalties and modes of treatment applicable to convicted offenders.” (Britannica, 2020).
Breaking down that definition, we find there are five objectives of Criminal Law:
- Retribution: is the punishing of individuals who commit crimes, although not necessarily in the same manner inflicted on their victims. This is the most widely used today, as well as the oldest objective of the law.
- Deterrence: Deterrence of future crimes is a term that has been around for a long time. There are two parts to this objective: individual and general deterrence. When a person commits a crime, a penalty is imposed to discourage the offender from future criminality, (which is the individual deterrence) but it can also serve as a discouragement to those in the general public not to commit such unlawful activities (general deterrence).
- Incapacitation: This objective seeks to incapacitate or remove a criminal offender from society, in order to protect the public from dangerous behavior. In most societies, this is achieved through incarceration.
- Rehabilitation: The rehabilitation approach aims to transform the offender to ensure that they will engage in gainful activities once they reenter society, thereby preventing further crimes.
- Restoration: Once a crime is committed, there are damages inflicted on the victim, which is why this objective tries to return the victim to their original position before the crime was committed against them. For example, if a person stole $3,000 from somebody else, the offender will be required to repay that amount of money as part of the sentence. On the other hand, if somehow the crime committed affected the community, the offender may be required to do community service.
If you or someone you know is being accused of a crime, it´s best to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect your rights, no matter what type of charge you are facing. To discuss legal options and get more information about your case, call The Spatz Law Firm at (305) 442-0200.