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Does Illegal Activity Always Equal Criminal Activity?
The line between illegal and criminal is thin. So thin, in fact, that you should ask for help with the nuances of it all. Luckily, that’s the job of a criminal defense attorney, and you should always turn to a professional when unsure about the subtleties of the law.
However, bear in mind that even when consulting with a San Diego criminal lawyer, you should look for the same qualities of a competent criminal attorney that you would when in need of professional legal representation in court. Now, let us see what is illegal, and what is criminal.
Is illegal the same as criminal?
To be completely brief and blunt no, illegal is not the same as criminal. Although these two terms seem similar, and people often use them interchangeably and incorrectly, they are in no way the same thing.
Let us see if we can explain it a bit better. Not every illegal activity is a criminal activity, while, on the other hand, every activity that is deemed a criminal activity is always an illegal activity. For example, driving past the speed limit is an illegal activity, but it is not a criminal activity. On the other hand, committing a homicide is both a criminal activity and an illegal activity.
So, to sum up, illegal activities are all those activities that are punishable by law in a certain way. They can include various civil sanctions, but also various punishments imposed by criminal law. Criminal activities are only those activities that are punishable under criminal law.
What is considered a criminal case?
Criminal cases, according to the California Department of Justice, are all the cases that are considered violations of criminal law, and where there is an offense against the community. There are three types of criminal cases:
- Felony – The most serious offenses, such as homicide, rape, arson, trafficking, robbery, etc.
- Misdemeanor – These are moderate to less serious crimes, which include traffic offenses, theft, possession of a controlled substance, assault, etc.
- Summary offense – The least serious of all the criminal cases, and they most often result in a fine.
It is evident that, even among criminal cases, there are differences in the severity of the crime and the potential legal repercussions the defendant may be faced with. Also, it is worth knowing that almost all criminal cases are tried in front of a jury and a judge.
What is the process of a criminal case?
Now that you are familiar with what constitutes a criminal case, let us turn our attention to all the steps that make up the proceedings in a criminal case:
- Arraignment – The defendant must first appear in court. A court official read the charges in front of a judge, and these charges are recorded formally.
- Preliminary hearing – During preliminary hearing, the DA has to be able to provide enough evidence for the court to charge the defendant with the crime.
- Pretrial conference – This is a hearing at the court necessary in order to resolve all the potential conflicts before the trial.
- Plea hearing – During plea hearing, the defendant will enter a plea of not guilty or guilty. Also, the prosecution usually offers an agreement at this point.
- Trial – During the trial, both sides present evidence to the jury or a judge, and the court determines if the defendant is guilty or innocent beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Sentencing – The court reaches a decision of the defendant being guilty or not guilty, and, if guilty, the court decides on the penalty for the crime.
- Appeal – The defendant has a legal right to appeal to the sentence after it has been uttered.
“Where in San Diego can I find a criminal lawyer I can trust?”
If you’re facing criminal charges, you definitely need to think about securing the best possible legal representation for yourself. Since every cloud has a silver lining, Monder Criminal Lawyer Group is here to help you with your troubles.
Vik Monder has assembled an incredible team of experienced criminal attorneys that are dedicated towards securing a favorable sentence for every client. If you’re even near Old Town San Diego, come to our offices and schedule a consultation!