Crimes (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Acts or omissions that are in violation of law.
Each state in the United States, as well as the federal government, maintains a body of criminal laws. As populations have increased and personal interactions and business transactions have grown more complicated, criminal laws have likewise grown in number and complexity. Most jurisdictions codify criminal statutes in a separate section in their laws. However, some crimes are placed in chapters or titles outside the designated criminal code. Generally, criminal laws are divided into several broad categories: offenses affecting public order, health, and morals; offenses involving trade, business, and professions; and offenses against the family. These categories often overlap. Juveniles and minors generally receive special treatment under criminal statutes.
Offenses Affecting Public Order, Health, and Morals
A number of acts are made criminal to preserve public order, health, and morals. Some of these laws are based in the COMMON LAW but have undergone significant changes over the years. Prostitution, if discreet and practiced indoors, was generally tolerated in colonial America, but streetwalkers were charged under lewdness, VAGRANCY, or similar laws. In the late nineteenth century, states began to identify and prohibit all prostitution, in criminal...
(The entire section is 1510 words.)
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