When it comes to crimes, most people are familiar with what’s reported in the news and on TV. Then there are those who, unfortunately, have been a victim of a crime, or have been accused of committing a crime. They have a firsthand account of the details of a particular crime. That said, there are a lot of misconceptions of what a particular crime entails. Each has a specific legal definition and distinct elements that must be met in order for a Court to find a person guilty. If one of those elements is missing, or cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, a defendant will be found “not guilty.”So, what exactly are crimes, and which are the most common in the US?
Difference Between Misdemeanors and Felonies | Felonies vs. Misdemeanors
There are two types of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies.
What is a Misdemeanor?
Misdemeanors, while still a violation of the law, are considered “lesser offenses” that are punishable by imprisonment for one year or less. Examples of misdemeanors include: shoplifting, driving with a suspended license, battery, vandalism, prostitution, petty theft, possession of fewer than 20 grams of marijuana, indecent exposure, and domestic violence.
Misdemeanors can be classified as first degree or second-degree misdemeanors.
A misdemeanor of the first degree is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00.
A misdemeanor of the second degree is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.00.
What is a Felony?
A felony is a serious offense. It can be classified as a capital felony, or a felony in the first, second, or third degree.
Some crimes that are classified as felonies are treason, murder, manslaughter, arson, kidnapping, aggravated assault, battery, stalking, carjacking, home invasion robbery, robbery, sexual battery (rape), aircraft piracy, and unlawfully throwing, placing, or discharging a bomb.
In addition, a person who commits a misdemeanor may be charged with a felony if he or she is a repeat offender.
- Capital felonies: Capital felonies are punishable by death in states where the death penalty is legal.
- First degree felonies: Punishment is a sentence of up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
- Second-degree felonies: Punishment is a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Third-degree felonies: Punishment is a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
4 Most Common Crimes Committed in the United States
Now that you have a basic understanding of crimes and their potential consequences, let’s look at those that are committed the most in the United States.
As for violent crimes, the list from most frequent to less is:
1. Aggravated Assault
The legal definition of aggravated assault is that of an attack that causes serious bodily injury and/or by using a weapon.
Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another person, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.
3. Sexual Assault
The definition of rape/sexual assault varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Florida, the law defines it as oral, anal, or vaginal penetration by the sexual organ of another or the anal or vaginal penetration of another by any other object.
The premeditated unlawful killing of a human being, or the unlawful killing of a person while committing another felony. (For example, someone who didn’t plan to kill anyone, but robbed a store and ended up killing someone in the process).
3 Most Common Property Crimes in the United States
Then there are property crimes. The most common ones in the US are:
Defined as knowingly taking the property of another with the specific intent to deprive the owner of their property.
A burglary is the breaking and entering into the property of another for the purpose of committing a felony inside. Examples include going into someone’s home to steal, kill, or burn it down.
3. Motor Vehicle Theft
This one is self-explanatory.
9 Most Common Crimes Committed in Florida
The most common crimes in Florida are:
- Drug Crimes
- Driving Under the Influence
- Property Crimes
- Domestic Violence
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Disclaimer: This blog is intended to be for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.