criminal law. The body of law defining offenses against the community at large, regulating how suspects are investigated, charged, and tried, and establishing punishments for convicted offenders.

¡ª Also termed penal law.

¡°The criminal law represents the pathology of civilization.¡± Morris R. Cohen, Reason and Law 70 (1961).

¡°Often the term ¡®criminal law¡¯ is used to include all that is involved in ¡®the administration of criminal justice¡¯ in the broadest sense. As so employed it embraces three different fields, known to the lawyer as (1) the substantive criminal law, (2) criminal procedure, and (3) special problems in the administration and enforcement of criminal justice…. The phrase ¡®criminal law¡¯ is more commonly used to include only that part of the general field known as the substantive criminal law ….¡± Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 1, 5 (3d ed. 1982).

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