offense | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

In the criminal justice context, an offense refers to an illegal act or wrongdoing that is punishable by law.

Offenses can range from minor violations, such as traffic infractions, to serious crimes like homicide or drug trafficking.

Offenses are typically classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the severity of the crime and the potential punishment. Misdemeanors are less serious offenses that are punishable by fines or short-term imprisonment. At the same time, felonies are more serious crimes that are punishable by longer prison terms or even the death penalty in some jurisdictions.

Offenses can be committed against individuals or the state, including a wide range of activities such as theft, assault, drug possession, fraud, and many others. The criminal justice system is responsible for investigating offenses, prosecuting offenders, and administering punishments in accordance with the law.

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Last Modified: 03/10/2023


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