Crime Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Crime, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Crime?

An illegal act involving violation of law and and causing harm to public in genearl or any particular member of the public.Once the person is convicted of commiting a crime he can be punished either by imposing a fine/ putting him in prison or both.There are different categories of crimes like- crime affecting public, crime invoving trade,business and profession, crime against women and minors etc.

History and Meaning of Crime

The term "crime" generally refers to an act that violates a law and has the potential to harm individuals or the public as a whole. The concept of criminal behavior has existed throughout human history, and early societies typically viewed crime as an offense against a deity or the community rather than against an individual. The first known legal code, the Code of Hammurabi, dating back to Babylon in 1754 BCE, included prohibitions against theft, murder, and other criminal activities.

The modern concept of crime emerged during the Enlightenment period in the 18th century, as thinkers sought to separate crimes from sins and to establish a secular legal system. Today, criminal behavior is defined and punished by governments through criminal law, which often includes a range of penalties from fines to imprisonment.

Examples of Crime

  1. Theft - taking property that belongs to someone else without their consent
  2. Murder - intentionally causing the death of another person
  3. Assault - intentionally causing physical harm to another person
  4. Fraud - deceiving someone in order to gain something of value
  5. Cybercrime - criminal activities carried out over the internet or using computer technology

Legal Terms Similar to Crime

  1. Misdemeanor - a lesser criminal offense that is punishable by a fine, community service, or up to one year in jail.
  2. Felony - a more serious criminal offense that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
  3. Infraction - a minor violation of the law that is typically punishable by a fine but not jail time.
  4. Juvenile delinquency - criminal behavior committed by minors who are under the age of 18.
  5. White-collar crime - nonviolent criminal activities committed by individuals or corporations in the course of their professional or economic activities.