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Criminal Law Glossary

4th Amendment Rights
The 4th amendment provides private citizens with the right to be free from unreasonable governmental search, seizure, and arrest.

Penal Law
Penal law is another term for “criminal law.”

Criminal Procedure
Criminal procedure is the method by which crimes are enforced.  For example, there are specific rules regarding the collection of evidence, the interrogation of suspects, and statute of limitations (i.e. procedural deadlines for prosecuting a criminal act.)
You likely have heard of these criminal procedure rights:  the right to a speedy trial, the right to trial by jury, the right to a competent attorney, the right to remain silent, the right not to testify against yourself, and the right to confront witnesses.

Criminal Law
Substantive criminal law refers to the actual crimes detailed in crimes codes; the act or failure to act which is a crime. 
Examples are murder, theft, burglary, theft by deception, shoplifting, rape, aiding and abetting, child abuse, cruelty to animals, arson, kidnapping, extortion, forgery, counterfeiting, speeding, stalking, cyberstalking, resisting arrest, torture, terrorism, and the like.

Strict Liability Crimes
Strict liability crimes are those that do not require a specific intent or mens rea.  It is enough that the act was taken or not taken; what you’re thinking at the time is irrelevant.  Examples of strict liability crimes would be speeding, running a red light, selling alcohol to minors, and statutory rape.

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