Watch this video to explore the different categories of crime. You’ll learn about felonies, misdemeanors, offenses, treason, espionage, and inchoate offenses.
Categories of Crime
Suppose that Arthur went to a bachelor party in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While Arthur was partying, he engaged in a lot of crazy behavior, including some illegal activity. Arthur was being excessively loud and received a ticket. He wants to know what type of crime he was charged with.
Let’s review the different types of criminal law violations to see if you can figure out which type of crime Arthur has committed.There are many types of criminal law violations. The different categories of crime include:
- Felony crimes
- Misdemeanor crimes
- Treason and espionage
- Inchoate offenses
Let’s take a closer look at each category of crime.
Felony crimes consists of serious crimes. When people are convicted of a felony, they can be punished by a prison term of one year or higher, or even death under certain circumstances. Once convicted of a felony crime, people can lose some of their rights, such as the right to vote, owning a firearm, or working in certain jobs, such as law enforcement or the medical field.
Felony crimes include:
- Drug possession
- Aggravated assault
Misdemeanor crimes are less serious than felony crimes. Usually, the punishment for a misdemeanor crime is one year or less imprisonment. Moreover, there is generally no loss of your rights when you commit a misdemeanor crime.
Some misdemeanor crimes include:
- Disturbing the peace
- Petty larceny
- Simple assault
- Simple battery
- Writing bad checks
Offenses are sometimes referred to as violations or infractions. This category of crime includes minor violations of the law that are less serious than misdemeanor crimes. Frequently, punishments for offenses involve the issuance of tickets and the payment of fines as opposed to court appearances. Some examples of offenses include:
- Public intoxication
- Disorderly conduct
- Traffic violations
Treason and Espionage
Treason and espionage are a unique category of crime. Both of these crimes constitute felony crimes.
Treason occurs when a United States citizen assists a foreign government to overthrow, institute a war, or cause injury to the United States. Additionally, espionage consists of collecting, transmitting, and providing information pertaining to the national defense to enemies of the United States. Espionage can be committed by either U.S. or non-U.S.
Another category of crimes is known as inchoate offenses. This category of crime features offenses that have not been completed. Let’s look at an example. Imagine that Abby and Ben are attempting to burglarize Cathy’s house. They just break into the house. Cathy arrives home.
Abby and Ben take off, aborting their plans. This is an inchoate offense because even though Abby and Ben were planning to commit a burglary, they did not complete the crime.
So, did you figure out which category of crime Arthur committed? If you guessed offenses, you are correct! Arthur’s behavior did not rise to the level of a felony or a misdemeanor.
Arthur can likely just pay a fine and avoid having to go to court to plead guilty; he can probably just mail in his fine and be okay.Let’s review what we learned in this lesson. There are various categories of crime. There are felonies, the most serious of crimes.
This type of crime includes such crimes as murder, kidnapping, or rape. Then there are misdemeanors, which are less serious crimes that typically carry less than one year jail sentences. This type of crime includes such crimes as disturbing the peace.Next, there are offenses, which are minor violations of the law that are less serious than misdemeanor crimes, followed by treason and espionage.
Treason involves U.S. citizens’ actions that are designed to assist another country’s efforts to overthrow, commence a war, or injure the United States. Espionage involves both U.S.
and non-U.S. citizens and their gathering and dissemination of information that can damage the national defense. Finally, there are inchoate offenses, which are crimes that are incomplete.
After you have finished reviewing this lesson, you should be able to:
- Recall and describe the categories of crime in the U.S.
- List some examples of felonies, misdemeanors, and offenses