Criminal law is one of the most complex areas of law. It involves both substantive and procedural rules, introduces us to concepts such as “reasonable doubt” and “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and contains many terms that are unfamiliar to the average person. toronto criminal law experts get it: they know how tricky this area of law can be, which is why they need our help in compiling a knowledgeable knowledge base that will acquaint them with what they need to know.
The term “jurisdiction” refers to the authority of a court to hear criminal cases. Different types of courts have different jurisdictional limits, so that some may have authority over only certain types of offenses and not others. For instance, the Supreme Court can hear any criminal case that does not involve a state court or a local court, whereas the Court of Appeals may only hear cases filed with it by a state trial court.
Elements of Criminal Charge
A criminal charge is all encompassing. It encompasses the elements of a crime, and all of the circumstances that surround it. To prove a crime, all that is needed is for the prosecutor to have enough evidence to show that someone committed the act upon which a charge has been placed.
Elements of an Offense
If the state can prove that a person has committed an offense, then they can file charges against him or her. The elements of an offense are the things necessary to satisfy each element requires. For example, to prove that a defendant committed theft, the prosecution must show that the defendant unlawfully took someone else’s property. The fact that the defendant did not have permission to take the property is an essential element of theft and cannot be ignored.
In criminal law, there is a difference between “preponderance of evidence” and “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Preponderance of evidence is a term usually used in civil law. It means that, based on the evidence presented, it is more than 50 percent likely that someone committed a certain act. Beyond a reasonable doubt refers to the standard used in criminal cases. It simply means something stronger than preponderance of evidence: the state must show that it is more than 50 percent certain that an accused person has been charged with a crime
Sentencing is the process of deciding what punishment should be given to a convicted criminal. The court does not normally impose sentences based purely on the severity of the crime; judges consider a defendant’s criminal history, their previous behavior and other factors in entering into a decision. The actual sentence imposed after conviction is called a “term of imprisonment.”