Since most people have seen their fair share of crime shows and movies, they often think they have a good understanding of the criminal justice system. However, what is seen on television and the big screen is often very different from reality.
When it comes to criminal laws regarding states, there can be many variances. While ultimately anyone arrested and charged with a crime in any state must still be read their Miranda rights and be guaranteed other rights under the U.S. Constitution, states also have much freedom to determine what is or is not a crime, as well as what punishments can fit certain crimes.
In all states across the nation, criminal law is created and passed by state legislatures. Known as statutes, these laws spell out the details of what comprises a crime, as well as possible penalties such as fines or imprisonment. Along with this, cities and towns can also use their governing bodies, such as town or city councils, to enact statutes regarding activities that are considered to be criminal in nature. For example, a city may pass laws making it illegal to be drunk in public, park in certain areas, or perhaps bring a weapon into a public building.
Since criminal law varies from state to state, there are many instances when a person may not in fact realize they are committing a crime. While this defense may work occasionally, most of the time it does not. Therefore, no matter how minor or serious a criminal charge may seem, it will be crucial to have representation from an experienced and knowledgeable attorney who specializes in criminal law. Due to the serious consequences that can result from a guilty conviction, making sure you have your legal rights protected during the process should be your top priority.