Criminal & Civil Law

Another category under Common law is criminal and civil law. Criminal law prohibits certain conduct and threatens punishment for the prohibited conduct. In criminal cases people and corporations are prosecuted by government for alleged violations of federal and/or state criminal laws. In criminal law, a violation is called either a felony or misdemeanor. Civil law does not always involve punishment if the law has been violated. Most often, violators are required to compensate those who suffered damages/losses as a result of the prohibited conduct. Civil law pertains to a variety of fields, such as contracts, wills, property, and domestic relations. Nevertheless, specific situations can result in both criminal and civil law proceedings.


Public & Private Law

Public and private law are categories of law under the Common system of law (Common Law). Public law involves the federal government acting as government rather than in other roles, such as property owner. Public law includes such matters as taxation, regulation of business practices, public welfare programs, foreign policy, and criminal justice. Private law does not involve the federal government acting as government. Private law includes such matters as marriage (family law) and personal injuries (tort law).