Questions tagged [criminal-law]

For questions about laws related to crime. Please add a location tag if the question is specific to a particular jurisdiction.

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A student slipped a drug into my coffee — what are the legal ramifications of this situation?

I am a high school Chemistry teacher. This morning, while my back was turned to write on the board, one of my students (age 17) slipped a pill into my coffee mug. This is a thermos-style mug that has ...
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101 votes
5 answers
30k views

Stealing my own property back?

I have a guitar that I let my friend Joe borrow on the consensus that he would return it in a couple of days. Joe is a mutual friend of my ex Bob. Bob stole the guitar from Joe once he found out it ...
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83 votes
8 answers
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Why shouldn't a bank robbery without threats be legal?

So say a bank robber walks into a bank and hands the teller a note saying simply "please give me $1,000" (or maybe even just verbally saying "I need $1,000 please") and if the teller accepts, which ...
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76 votes
6 answers
10k views

How would the actions of Hänsel and Gretel in the Grimm tale be interpreted in modern law?

This came up as a layman’s law question. I thought of this when reading the classic Grimm tale Hänsel and Gretel to my children. The situation is as follows: The witch imprisons Hänsel with the ...
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76 votes
2 answers
30k views

Daughter dies at party

My 19 year old step daughter attended a party in Illinois. One kid slipped a pill in her drink which caused her to have a heart attack and die. After watching this play out, this boy didn't even ...
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72 votes
6 answers
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Why is stealing from an employer a criminal act when stealing from an employee is a civil act?

Here is the full question with all the context and details: In the majority of cases in the U.S. about theft at a workplace, why is the matter usually tried in a criminal court when the employer is ...
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63 votes
9 answers
15k views

Why is murder considered a more serious crime than attempted murder?

By its sentencing guidelines (the world over?), murder is considered a more serious crime than attempted murder. If intent to kill has indeed been proven, does the latter crime reward incompetence ...
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57 votes
4 answers
28k views

How do people publicly admit to criminal activity and not typically get arrested?

I've noticed that people on YouTube and even on TV would sometimes say things like "I used to take lots of coke a few years ago" or "I used to smoke weed daily until this and that" or "Yea, I smoke ...
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51 votes
4 answers
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A man killed my son and married one of the witnesses. Can the witness's statements still be used in court against him?

In Florida a career felon, who is a complete stranger to my son, killed my son. He is being prosecuted for this crime in a state court in Florida. There are two witnesses. One of them is the the ...
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47 votes
4 answers
12k views

Course of action in a criminal case when there is no conceivable defense

I am not a lawyer or a law student; my work is in mathematics, but I like to learn about criminal law as a hobby. I have spent some time googling and searching to find an answer to my question but ...
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47 votes
2 answers
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Would Trump's defence work in other courts?

Donald Trump's defence against incitement is essentially the ambiguity of his language: he never explicitly told the crowd to violently attack Congress, but he did use ambiguous words such as "...
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46 votes
5 answers
26k views

Why are people sentenced to prison for terms longer than life?

Albert Morake was sentenced to 1,535 years in prison. How can a person be sentenced to more than 1 life imprisonment?
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43 votes
2 answers
11k views

Are lawyers allowed to lie about the law during closing arguments?

In his closing arguments during the Kyle Rittenhouse case, the prosecution said (full quote) that “You lose the right to self-defence when you’re the one who brought the gun, when you’re the one ...
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40 votes
6 answers
13k views

Suppose someone kills more people than they intended. Did they murder the extra people?

If a person sets a bomb in a music festival. Based on previous attendance numbers, they expected 60,000 people to show up. 120,000 people showed up and were killed by their bomb. Legally, did they ...
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38 votes
5 answers
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Is ban evasion illegal?

What is the legality of "Ban Evasions"? This sounds like a dumb question but perhaps enlighten the ignorant. Ban Evasion, "The creation of a new account on a platform or website after being ...
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37 votes
4 answers
8k views

Can you legally move a dead body to preserve it as evidence?

A fisherman is heading upstream in his boat, and sees a human corpse float past. Obviously even if it wasn't murder, it still warrants a 911 call because it was a death. The river however, is steadily ...
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37 votes
1 answer
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Isn't a hung jury proof of reasonable doubt?

I don't understand the logic with allowing additional trials after a hung jury. Isn't the fact that the prosecution can't get 12 jurors to agree the accused is guilty proof that guilt was not proven ...
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33 votes
6 answers
7k views

"attempted murder" of a dead man?

This question inspired by an episode of a certain popular TV detective show. Mr Smith hates Mr Jones, and plots to kill him. Smith enters Jones' house, and shoots him in bed, while also setting up an ...
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33 votes
7 answers
16k views

Pregnant spouse slipped abortion pills unknowingly. What would the legal ramifications be?

Suppose a partner to a pregnant woman gave her an abortion pill which successfully aborted the pregnancy. Suppose that this was done in a non-violent way, unbeknownst to the woman. One could argue ...
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33 votes
6 answers
27k views

Do I have the right to enter into someone house without permission if my child is in there?

Here's the situation Main persons: my daughter Maria, 16 years old my daughter's friend Mario, over 18 years old My daughter was asked by her friend Mario to hang out at someone's ...
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31 votes
3 answers
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Why does the victim have to press charges?

Case in point that was in the news: "BART identifies man in viral video of racist attack on train", East Bay Times A California man attacked a stranger while expressing his hatred of the victim's ...
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31 votes
3 answers
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In the US, is it legal to lie to a business such as a hotel to obtain a discount?

Let's say a hotel chain or a restaurant provides a 50% discount to anyone aged over 70. Would it be legal (as in, no criminal charges could arise from that action) for a patron to lie to the hotel/...
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31 votes
3 answers
22k views

What is the legal take on the trolley problem?

From the Wikipedia page on the trolley problem: There is a runaway trolley barreling down the railway tracks. Ahead, on the tracks, there are five people tied up and unable to move. The trolley ...
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30 votes
4 answers
5k views

Can a prosecutor hold back charges so they can try again?

Assume I was alleged to have been involved in a bank robbery gone wrong - guns were fired, people were killed and injured, some robbers were arrested at the scene, some escaped etc. Obviously, there ...
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29 votes
6 answers
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What crimes did Rosenbaum commit when he engaged Rittenhouse?

The jury has found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty of murder of Joseph Rosenbaum based on the defense's claim that he acted in self defense. Given the facts outlined by this NPR article, it appears that ...
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28 votes
4 answers
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If someone orders a pizza in the US and doesn't pay for it, could they be arrested?

If you were to order a pizza in the US and didn't pay for it afterwards, could you be arrested?
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27 votes
6 answers
9k views

What will happen if one is caught smuggling something that is not illegal?

For example if someone is caught at some major airport trying to smuggle condoms with talcum powder in his butt, or in a hidden compartment in a suitcase for example Someone might do this with the ...
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26 votes
5 answers
11k views

Is harmlessly appearing to be a school bus driver a crime?

Hypothetically, if someone who owned a school bus legally drove said school bus to a bus stop 3 minutes before the stop would ordinarily be made, allowed schoolchildren to board without speaking, then ...
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26 votes
4 answers
14k views

Where can I report criminal intent found on the dark web?

I wasn't sure if I should ask this here or on the Tor site. I think it fits more here. I came across a Stack Exchange clone on the dark web. I won't go into too much detail or provide a link, but ...
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25 votes
3 answers
9k views

Is it illegal to carry someone else's ID or credit card?

I was watching a video by RealWorldPolice about a high school student who was arrested for carrying a loaded gun into his school in Seattle, WA. Footage of the entire search, detainment, and arrest of ...
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24 votes
6 answers
15k views

Can I be charged for murder if I throw peanuts at someone who has a severe peanut allergy and they die as a result of that?

Assuming I already knew that they had a peanut allergy, and my intention was to hurt them, but not necessarily to kill them.
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24 votes
2 answers
9k views

Self incrimination during medical examination

If, during a medical examination, an alleged accused says anything that might incriminate himself, it should be neither recorded nor reported.[emphasis mine] source: Synopsis of forensic medicine and ...
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24 votes
3 answers
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Pretending to be from the "Freedom to Breathe Agency": impersonating an officer?

There's a woman going around claiming to be from the federal "Freedom to Breathe Agency", telling store workers that they can personally be sued for telling customers that they need to wear ...
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24 votes
2 answers
9k views

Is murder in Washington, DC pardonable by the President?

In most cases murder is a state crime. However, Washington, DC is not covered within any state's jurisdiction. My question is whether the President can pardon someone for committing murder if the ...
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23 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is presenting a play showing Military characters in a bad light a crime in the US? Or does the First Admendment prevent this?

This is a followup to Is it illegal to wear military surplus clothing? US Law 10 USC 771 provides that only members of the US military may wear: ...the uniform, or a distinctive part of the uniform, ...
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23 votes
1 answer
3k views

Bright-line or Litmus Test for Sedition?

The media is crediting Donald Trump, Giuliani and Trump's son with inciting the protesters to march from the Ellipse to and breach the Capitol building on 6 January 2021, interrupting the electoral ...
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22 votes
4 answers
12k views

Can a person purposely provoke someone to hit him and then report a crime?

Say someone purposely provokes another person by insulting him, knowing that this person is easily provoked. The provoked person then hits him. Can the person then report a crime or even file a civil ...
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22 votes
4 answers
3k views

Government's standing in criminal trials

There's an answer on politics SE that has some upvotes (but more downvotes) claiming (even more adamantly in subsequent comments) that standing is issue of substantial importance in criminal trials; ...
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22 votes
2 answers
4k views

Is there a law in the UK that makes possession of specific publications illegal?

I just read the following in an article in The Guardian (emphasis mine): In prison they met their co-defendant Rahman, 32, one of nine men prosecuted in connection with a plan to attack the London ...
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22 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is it legal to forge a Permission to Attack during a physical penetration test engagement?

When doing penetration testing (hired as a security consultant to examine and test a company's security by simulating an attacker), it's necessary to have a document called "Permission to Attack&...
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22 votes
3 answers
3k views

When a criminal statute is struck down as unconstitutional, what happens to people who were convicted under it?

We just had a question about what happens to convicts if a law is repealed. However, that question's example of homosexual behavior wasn't decriminalized in the US by legislative action, but rather by ...
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21 votes
5 answers
13k views

Is it legal to ask to be shot?

Say I ask someone to shoot me non lethally. Not assisted suicide, Just shot. Is this legal? Isn't it like asking to be assaulted with a deadly weapon?
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21 votes
9 answers
5k views

What happens if a prosecutor refuses to file charges?

Inspired by the answer to a previous question I asked. Let's say Alice assaults Bob, and Bob goes to the police. I gather from the answer to the linked question that what happens in principle is that ...
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21 votes
2 answers
6k views

Can a vaccine be required by law?

This question came up because I read that Bolsonaro, Brazil's president, was criticized by the opposition for saying that COVID-19 vaccinations won't be mandatory. The opposition said that the vaccine ...
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21 votes
3 answers
6k views

Is attempted murder the same charge regardless of damage done?

Scenario 1: Bob points a gun at Joe's head, says "I'll kill you", pulls the trigger, and misses Joe by 1 inch. Joe is fine physically. Scenario 2: Bob points a gun at Joe's head, says "...
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  • 477
21 votes
3 answers
7k views

How bad does your lawyer need to be for your trial to not be fair?

I am watching the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, and his lawyer just seems horrible. He doesn't object to anything. For instance, he didn't object once when the police officer who downloaded the videos was ...
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21 votes
2 answers
19k views

Someone has a video of me doing drugs. Is there legal protection against its release?

It's a bit like slander, except there is no false information. I wanted to Google whatever this may be called to see what my options are if this video is ever released. I'm stumped as to what to ...
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21 votes
3 answers
7k views

If you escaped from prison for a crime you did not commit, would you still serve the increased sentence once exonerated?

For example: you were convicted of murder and escaped and were then sentenced to years on top of your original sentence, but you were later exonerated of the crime of murder; would you still have to ...
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  • 319
21 votes
5 answers
24k views

Why aren't athletes charged with assault?

Athletes get into brawls and whatnot all the time. Mike Tyson even bit a guy's ear off. Why aren't they charged for assault and sentenced to jail time? I understand that athletes might get hurt ...
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20 votes
2 answers
5k views

Victim of larceny doesn't press charges. Does this mean suspect walks free?

Location: Indiana, USA. A home/ranch owner (victim) thinks he is being stolen from. He rigs a lot of his possessions with tracking devices (apple airtags) and puts a lot of cameras on premises. Some ...
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