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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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194 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
Hayley LJ's user avatar
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106 votes
5 answers
35k 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 ...
Jude's user avatar
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89 votes
8 answers
39k views

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 ...
user avatar
83 votes
6 answers
11k 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 ...
quarague's user avatar
  • 3,485
80 votes
2 answers
31k 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 ...
Chelle's user avatar
  • 707
75 votes
6 answers
16k views

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 ...
Display name's user avatar
68 votes
9 answers
17k 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 ...
Tom Bowers's user avatar
59 votes
4 answers
31k 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 ...
Jack's user avatar
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52 votes
4 answers
19k views

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 ...
Alice Shew's user avatar
51 votes
4 answers
13k 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 ...
Prince M's user avatar
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48 votes
5 answers
27k 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?
Micaela Dorothy's user avatar
47 votes
2 answers
10k views

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 "...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
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42 votes
5 answers
18k views

A Swiss watch company seized my watch, saying it was stolen. I bought it 10 years ago. Is that legal?

I have a watch from Blancpain that I bought in 2014 from an individual in Poland (I have a written contract). I've sent the watch to Blancpain in Switzerland for periodic inspection and they seized it,...
Wojciech 's user avatar
42 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 ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
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40 votes
6 answers
14k 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 ...
moonman239's user avatar
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40 votes
4 answers
9k 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 ...
Razmode's user avatar
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39 votes
1 answer
6k views

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 ...
Ryan_L's user avatar
  • 3,555
38 votes
5 answers
17k views

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 ...
nolsen's user avatar
  • 491
37 votes
3 answers
34k 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 ...
Praxeolitic's user avatar
36 votes
2 answers
12k views

Is it stealing if three books are allowed to be taken for free and I take more?

There is a charity shop, which sells nothing but gives books away for free. They do accept optional donations of money, and any books donations so they have more books to give away for free. Upon ...
user5623335's user avatar
  • 1,154
35 votes
8 answers
17k 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 ...
Phil's user avatar
  • 383
33 votes
6 answers
8k 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 ...
Pete's user avatar
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32 votes
6 answers
31k 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 ...
Polar's user avatar
  • 455
31 votes
3 answers
16k views

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/...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 4,563
30 votes
3 answers
13k views

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 ...
MWB's user avatar
  • 1,294
30 votes
2 answers
14k views

Why is Trump's alleged fraud in New York not prosecuted as a criminal offense?

The New York Attorney General has filed a civil "complaint" against Donald Trump as well as some family members and companies. The allegations are centering around fraud by inflating ...
Peter - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
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 ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 211k
29 votes
11 answers
8k views

Why is drunk driving causing accident punished so much worse than just drunk driving?

When people drink and drive and then cause an accident especially where if someone dies they get years and years in prison but just the act of drunk driving is punished way more lenient. Shouldn't ...
Bigbob23's user avatar
  • 407
29 votes
6 answers
10k 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 ...
user43993's user avatar
  • 301
28 votes
6 answers
11k views

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 ...
grovkin's user avatar
  • 2,578
28 votes
11 answers
10k views

If vampires were real, what would one who broke into someone's home to drink their blood be charged with?

This question is of course entirely hypothetical, but I am curious as to what crimes would be applicable in this situation. Alternatively, you could interpret the question as: If someone pretending to ...
SpotXSpot's user avatar
  • 407
28 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why isn't there financial safety if I am arrested illegally? [closed]

I have been arrested approximately 14 times in my life and never Mirandized. The last time I was arrested, about 8 police officers stood around me asking me what I was doing. After I explained every ...
Moses Isaac Kaufman's user avatar
28 votes
7 answers
5k views

If a law is new but its interpretation is vague, can the courts directly ask the drafters the intent and official interpretation of their law?

The problem with old laws seems to be that many times the drafters aren't alive to tell what their intent or interpretation is of a given law, but in case a law is new and the drafter or drafters are ...
user avatar
28 votes
3 answers
11k views

Is it considered kidnapping if an underaged teenager willingly goes with someone else without the permission of their parent or guardian?

I have often read about kidnapping charges being brought against a non-custodial parent during divorce or against an individual when a teenager runs away from home with their respective boyfriends or ...
AlanSTACK's user avatar
  • 2,060
27 votes
4 answers
8k views

Is it true that a teacher can't engage/attack a shooter from behind during a school shooting that is in progress?

I have a cousin who is a teacher and a few years ago we had a long discussion about school shootings and part of this discussion was about what teachers can and cannot do during a school shooting that ...
user57467's user avatar
  • 1,543
27 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 ...
Sam Suchs's user avatar
  • 381
27 votes
4 answers
21k views

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?
user28261's user avatar
  • 287
26 votes
6 answers
9k views

Convicted for murder and "victim" found alive

In two works of fiction I read or saw, a person was convicted for murder when the victim was actually alive. (In one case, not quite alive - police take finger prints of an unknown 30 year old woman, ...
gnasher729's user avatar
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25 votes
10 answers
8k views

Why can courts refuse evidence?

The question Layman here. This question was inspired by this question and random things I've heard/read over the years. I'm quite confused by a concept that comes up again and again and which people ...
Vilx-'s user avatar
  • 1,005
25 votes
7 answers
19k 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.
Elie El Khoury's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
6k views

Can a private person deceive a defendant to obtain evidence?

In the 2019 movie "Badla" (spoilers ahead), Naina was accused of committing a murder in the UK, and her trial is in London. She denies the accusation. Her clever lawyer Badal arrives and ...
KeizerHarm's user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
17k 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 ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 371
25 votes
6 answers
7k views

Can you be punished for planning a crime and what constitutes "planning"?

I just read a different question here on Law.SE that asked something along the lines of "Would it be illegal to do XYZ? I want to do this, but I'm not sure if it's legal." So, that seems ...
Vilx-'s user avatar
  • 1,005
25 votes
1 answer
5k views

Would publicly farting on a picture of the English monarch actually qualify as treason in 1798?

A famous political cartoon from 1798 by Richard Newton claims that farting on a picture of the British monarch would be prosecutable as "TREASON!!!" (caps and multiple exclamation marks in ...
Robert Columbia's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
cpast's user avatar
  • 23.9k
24 votes
4 answers
21k 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 ...
user1034912's user avatar
  • 1,501
24 votes
2 answers
10k 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 ...
JM97's user avatar
  • 351
24 votes
3 answers
10k views

Is a lawyer allowed to follow a client's instructions to hide evidence?

The police arrested a suspect linked to sexual assaults. The police searched his home. It sounds like initially the search warrants were very limited in scope but they widened as things turned up. ...
TreVon's user avatar
  • 331
24 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, ...
David Siegel's user avatar
23 votes
6 answers
12k views

Is an attorney allowed to turn on their client?

Inspired by Yakuza Judgement. Say that Andy the Attorney is potentially representing Dave the defendant. But while they talk, Andy finds Dave to be a repulsive human being who's obviously guilty of ...
chausies's user avatar
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