Criminal Law: You and the State

Hands cuffed behind back

Criminal law is the name given to the branch of law that governs an individual's relationship to the state.

It includes the definitions of criminal offenses, which are usually established by Congress or state legislatures. The term "criminal law" also encompasses the rights of an accused and the criminal process, including arrest, arraignment, grand juries, pleas, discovery, pretrial hearings, trials, jury selection, evidence, motions, and post-trial remedies. The main purpose of the criminal law is to set forth the punishment for criminal offenses. In order to prove any crime, no matter how serious, the prosecutor must prove that the accused committed a guilty act with a guilty mind beyond a reasonable doubt.