A crime is classified as any act or omission of an act that violates any standing law forbidding or commanding it. Majority of crimes in the United States are established under the federal, state, and local governments. Due to states having different laws, the MPC was created in 1962 to help in standardizing the codified penal laws of the United States.
Crimes tend to be classified as either felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are more serious crimes such as murder, armed robbery and rape; while misdemeanors are less serious offenses such as petty theft, jaywalking, shoplifting, and trespassing. Felonies tend to punishable by more than a year in prison, while misdemeanors are usually punishable for less than a year.
In order to yield a conviction, the prosecutors must prove two elements that’s found in the majority of crimes committed by criminals, “actus reus” and “mens rea”. “actus reus” is a latin word meaning “guilty act” and “mens rea” is a latin word meaning “guilty mind”. On top of prosecutors having to prove all elements of a crime to yield a conviction, the prosecutors must also persuade the jurors or judge “beyond a reasonable doubt” of all the facts needed to constitute the crime charged.