Types of Criminal Punishment
If you are breaking the law, you will be punished; that is what is meant by criminal punishment. The punishment or penalty for a criminal offense can be anything from a small fine, to community service or even a death penalty. The punishment depends on the severity of the crime that one has been convicted for.
After your trial, the court will sentence you for the crime you committed. Note that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution does not allow the court to subject an individual to “cruel and unusual punishment”. The punishment should be suitable for the crime committed. It is, however, difficult to decide what punishment is permissible based on the Eighth Amendment.
The Many Penalties
The main reasons for imposing a penalty on law breakers include; rehabilitation, deterrence or public education, incapacitation, and retribution or revenge.
It is deemed that for a first time burglary, it is inhuman for the court to impose a death penalty. However, if an individual has been found to be guilty of writing bad checks on a regular basis or for multiple non-violent crimes, he/she can be sentenced to life imprisonment as habitual offenders without parole.
Physical abuses, like torture and beatings, can result in cruel and unusual punishment, which has been prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. Apart from imprisonment and fines, the federal government and a lot of states have started to seek the forfeiture of property that has been used in a criminal activity or in the commission of a crime.
The criminal courts in the U.S. are imposing other kinds of sentences as an alternative to imprisonment. Another traditional alternative to imprisonment is probation; it allows an individual who has been convicted of a crime to be free, being subject to the restrictions that have been imposed by the court.
It is to be kept in mind that not every person who is convicted of a crime is fit for probation. The court judges the severity of the crime and then imposes a probation for the convicted criminal. Community service is also considered as another form of punishment in place of imprisonment.
Community Service as Punishment
For misdemeanor cases as well as for a non-violent felony like embezzlement, community services are usually imposed by the court. Community service can include cleaning up the roadside parks as well as attending seminars and presenting speeches on the evils of crime. It is usual for the court to impose community services on celebrities, as the court believes that more good can be done to the society through the convicted celebrity’s service than his/her imprisonment.
Most states in the U.S. still have a death penalty, though it is increasingly becoming a rare sentence. The death penalty, or capital punishment, is usually imposed for heinous felonies. State courts are usually allowed to impose death penalties for individuals who have committed murder.
Keep yourself updated on all the penalties for the different kinds of crimes committed in your state. Hire an experienced attorney so that he/she knows the law well and is able to produce a good outcome to the case.