Penal Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Penal?

adj. That which is punishable, which inflicts a punishment , with referrence to criminality as defined in “penal code”.

History and Meaning of Penal

The term "penal" dates back to the Medieval Latin word "pēnālis," which means "punishment." It refers to actions or behaviors that are subject to punishment under the law. A "penal code" is a set of laws that outlines the penalties for various crimes. The word "penal" is often used in contrast to "civil," which refers to non-criminal legal matters such as contracts and property.

Examples of Penal

  1. The penal system in the United States is designed to punish and rehabilitate criminals.
  2. The judge sentenced the defendant to five years in a penal institution.
  3. The company was fined for violating penal labor laws.
  4. The new legislation added several new penal provisions for white-collar crimes.
  5. The lawyer argued that the defendant's actions did not meet the penal code's threshold for criminal behavior.

Legal Terms Similar to Penal

  1. Criminal Law - The body of law that deals with crimes and their punishment.
  2. Punitive Damages - Monetary compensation awarded to a plaintiff to punish a defendant for their actions.
  3. Sanction - A penalty imposed by a court or other authority for a violation of the law.
  4. Felony - A serious crime that is punishable by imprisonment for more than one year.
  5. Misdemeanor - A less serious crime that is punishable by fine or imprisonment for one year or less.