What are the Different Types of Crimes?

There are two main types of law in the United States: civil law and criminal law. Criminal laws address behavior offensive against society, the state, or the public. Criminal laws comprise federal and state mandates that prohibit behavior considered harmful to the public.

​​A crime is any act that is contrary to the law. There are many different types of crimes, from crimes against persons to victimless crimes and white-collar crimes. In general, crimes are defined by criminal law. When a person engages in acts considered harmful to society, they can be found guilty of committing a crime.

Crimes are generally prosecuted in a criminal court. Someone convicted of a crime may be forced to pay fines and may also lose their personal freedoms and privileges by being sentenced to jail or prison time. What constitutes a crime will vary from state to state.

Visit here ( to learn more about the different types of crime and how experienced criminal defense attorneys can support you if you’ve been charged. Read on for more information about the different kinds of crime and their effect.

Crimes Against Persons

Personal crimes include homicide, murder, kidnapping, aggravated assault, rape, false imprisonment, and robbery. Personal crimes are typically violent crimes that cause physical, emotional, or psychological harm.

Crimes Against Property

Property crimes involve the theft of property without bodily harm. Crimes like burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson fall into this category. Offenses against property typically aren’t violent or involve the physical harm of another. Rather, these crimes involve interference with another person’s right to enjoy their property.

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are illegal atrocities committed while invoking prejudices of race, gender or gender identity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Crimes Against Morality

Crimes against morality are also referred to as victimless crimes because there is no complainant or victim. Prostitution, illegal gambling, and illegal drug use are all examples of victimless crimes.

White-Collar Crime

White-collar crimes are crimes committed by people in the context of their occupation. This includes embezzling, insider trading, tax evasion, and other violations of income tax laws. In terms of total dollars, white-collar crimes can be consequential for society. However, these crimes are generally the least prosecuted.

Organized Crime

Groups commit organized crime around distributing and selling illegal goods and services. Organized crime rings generally reflect corporate hierarchies with senior partners who control profits, employees who manage and work for the business, and clients who buy the goods and services that the organization provides.

Attempted Crime

Inchoate crimes are incomplete crimes. They were initiated but weren’t seen all the way through to their fruition. A few examples of inchoate crimes include:

  • Attempted crimes, such as attempted robbery, attempted murder, etc.;
  • Solicitation crimes involve requesting, asking, hiring, commanding, or encouraging someone else to commit a crime
  • Conspiracy crimes involve multiple actors coming together to engage in a criminal activity

Statutory Crimes

Statutory crimes violate state and federal statutes. They can include property offenses or personal offenses. The most common example of a statutory crime would be alcohol-related crimes, such as DUI or selling alcohol to minors.


Infractions are also known as violations. These crimes are petty offenses typically punishable by fines but no jail time. Infractions cannot result in a jail sentence or even probation. For this reason, infraction defendants do not get the right to a jury trial.

A defendant who has been charged with an infraction can hire an attorney, but the government doesn’t have a constitutional duty to appoint one. Often, prosecutors don’t appear on behalf of the government in cases involving infractions.

Traffic offenses are the most common form of infraction. Some states consider certain infractions like traffic tickets to be civil rather than criminal offenses.

Crime and Severity

Crimes are generally categorized by their severity as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are typically less serious crimes. Misdemeanors generally carry a fine of up to $1,000 with no more than one year being spent incarcerated.

Felony crimes are considered more serious in nature and carry heftier punishments. Felonies are punished with prison sentences of one year or more, higher fines, and sentences are carried out in a state prison facility. State laws may categorize crimes based on violence, state of mind, and intentions.

Some offenses, also known as wobblers, can be prosecuted as a felony or misdemeanor. An offense that was prosecuted as a felony may also be downgraded to a misdemeanor at the time of sentencing. This occurs when statutes authorize judges to punish offenders as miscreants or felony offenders.

If you’ve been charged with a crime and need representation, contact a criminal defense attorney in your community today.

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Written by Marcus Richards

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