Criminal Law

Understanding Different Types of Crimes

Crimes are well-defined in the criminal law that refers to a section of federal and state laws that prohibit behavior that is deemed to be harmful to the society. If a person engages in such behavior, he or she may be guilty of crimes and prosecuted in the court of law.

Nowadays, criminal trials and criminal behavior are highly publicized in the media and are the storyline in major TV shows and even movies. This explains why a lot of people are well-informed on various types of crime. Unfortunately, the law is quite complicated. There are several forms of crimes. They are divided into four categories.

Categories of Crimes

Personal Crimes

These are offenses committed against a person. These types of crimes can result in mental or physical harm to another person. These crimes include assault, battery, kidnapping, false imprisonment, rape, murder, manslaughter, and much more.

Property Crimes

These are offenses against property. These types of crimes do not always involve harm to other persons. Rather, they involve interference with another person’s right to enjoy or use their property. These crimes include theft, robbery (in some instances, this is regarded as a personal crime if it results in mental, and physical harm), burglary, forgery, false pretenses, embezzlement, arson, and receipt of stolen goods.

Inchoate Crimes

Inchoate means incomplete. Ideally, these are crimes that were started but not completed. Thus, a person needs to take a considerable step to finish the crime as opposed to intend to commit a crime. Some of these crimes include solicitation, conspiracy, or other attempts to commit any given crime.

Statutory Crimes

This refers to a violation of a given federal or state statute and can involve either personal offences or property offences. According to, these crimes include alcohol-related crimes like drunk driving and selling alcohol to minors.

The above listed crimes are prohibited in all states. However, the way the law is written is quite different in every state, penalties of every crime, and the way the behavior is regulated.

Levels of Crime

Crimes can also be categorized according to level of seriousness. For instance, there is a distinction between felony and misdemeanor. The differences are:


These are less serious crimes such as shoplifting or DUI. These crimes carry a less fine and jail sentence, usually less than a year.


These are more serious crimes such as kidnapping, robbery, and murder. These crimes carry a jail sentence of more than one year.