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5 Primary Categories of Criminal Offenses

The word crime is a broad category. This is why criminal offenses are divided into five types: personal crime, property crime, statutory crime, financial crime, and inchoate crime. Continue reading to find more information about these types.

Personal Crime

Personal crime is an act that results in harming the physical and mental well-being of another person. This type is further divided into two primary categories — a form of homicide or other violent crimes. When a crime causes severe physical harm that leads to the death of another person, the defendant can be charged with one of the types under homicide. This includes first-degree murder, vehicular homicide, or voluntary manslaughter.

On the other hand, the other main category, which is a violent crime, may also be a severe case. This includes arson, rape and statutory rape, assault and battery, domestic abuse, child abuse, and kidnapping.

Property Crime

As mentioned in the name, a property crime pertains to an act that typically interferes with the property of another person. It may also harm another individual physically or mentally, but the act results in the deprivation of usage or enjoyment of a certain property. But people are more familiar with property crimes that involve theft, such as burglary, robbery, auto theft, larceny, and shoplifting.

Statutory Crime

A statutory crime is an act that involves the mentioned crimes above that were prescribed by statute. There are three primary types of statutory crimes, which are traffic offenses, drug crimes, and alcohol-related crimes. The mentioned crimes are prohibited by law in the hopes that it deters individuals from engaging in these.

Traffic offenses

This type of crime includes criminal acts that happened while the person was driving a vehicle on public roadways. Since a DUI/DWI/OWI involves the use of a vehicle and alcohol, it is considered a traffic offense and alcohol-related crime. Other traffic offenses include driving without a license, reckless driving, hit-and-run accidents, vehicular assault, and driving on a revoked or suspended license. A traffic offense can turn into a more serious crime like a form of homicide when it results in death.

Drug crimes

This crime pertains to acts that involve the creation and/or distribution of drugs such as drug manufacturing, drug possession, and drug trafficking. This is a category of criminal law that receives plenty of attention due to the regulation and prosecution of drug crimes that are related to medical marijuana. There is a state trend that leans to the legalization of medical marijuana, which leaves this category of criminal law in flux.


Alcohol-related crimes

This type of crime includes different kinds of offenses based on where and how alcohol was consumed. These include driving under the influence (DUI/OWI/DWI), boating DUI, underage DUI, public intoxication, open container violation, minor in possession of alcohol, supplying and/or selling alcohol to minors, refusing to perform a (field) sobriety test, and refusing to provide a blood sample or perform a breathalyzer.

Financial or White-Collar and Other Crimes

This category involves acts of fraud or deception for financial gain. It is also called white-collar crimes because corporate officers have historically perpetrated this category, but anyone in any industry can commit a financial crime. This includes different types of blackmail and fraud, tax evasion, cybercrime, money laundering, and embezzlement.

Inchoate Crime

This category pertains to acts that were initiated but not finished or crimes that have assisted in the commission of another criminal act. It doesn’t mean that a person who intends or hopes to commit a crime is already found guilty. The person must first act on a ‘substantial step’ towards the completion of the criminal act before being charged. This includes conspiracy, attempt, and aiding and abetting. There are cases that inchoate crimes are punished similarly to the underlying crime, or sometimes, it can be less severe.

Based on Materials from Justia
Photo Sources: CBS News, Rae L. Randolph, AlcoRehab

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