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What are crimes?

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The most fundamental characteristic of a crime is that it is a punishable offense against society. So, when a crime occurs, society acting through the police and prosecutors attempts to identify, arrest, prosecute, and punish the criminal.

Crimes may be classified in various ways.

One primary aim of the criminal law is to protect the existence of government itself and its ordinary operations. Laws evidencing this aim include those against treason, sedition, counterfeiting, theft and intentional destruction of government property, obstruction of public officials in the exercise of their office, bribery, and official oppression or coercion. In addition, prohibitions against perjury safeguard the investigative functions of government.

A second major category of crimes includes crimes against public order, health, and morals: unlawful assembly, riot, interference with lawful group meetings, vagrancy, public intoxication, solicitation to sexual acts, prostitution, and traffic in obscene materials. Public health considerations underlie prohibitions against prostitution and traffic in narcotics and, to a degree, support regulation of traffic in alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

A third very important grouping comprises crimes against the person, including intentional homicide or murder, manslaughter, assaults of various kinds, and rape; the last often includes intercourse obtained through fraud or misrepresentation of identity, as well as sexual activity with certain classes of women who are viewed as incapable of consent, such as mentally ill persons or girls below a certain age.

A fourth category is that of offenses against property. It includes theft or larceny, burglary or other criminal intrusion into premises, arson, malicious destruction of property, robbery, extortion, and forgery. In some of these offenses (e.g., arson, burglary, and robbery) protection of life and limb looms as large as or larger than protection of property, while in others (e.g., theft) only property interests are protected.

A fifth category of offenses against family relationships is common to all codes: bigamy and polygamy, incest, homosexuality, infanticide, and child abuse and nonsupport.



A final grouping comprises crimes relating to businesses and occupations, including public health controls. There are few occupations that are not subjected to controls through criminal law penalties, at least in form.

Crimes are also classified in terms of their seriousness as felonies and misdemeanors. A felony is a crime of a serious nature. It exists when the act is labeled so by law or is punishable by death or confinement for more than one year in prison. Murder, kidnapping, arson, robbery, burglary and the such are the examples of felonies. Misdemeanor is a crime of a less serious nature. It is usually punishable by confinement in a jail for less than one year, by fine, or by both confinement and fine. Crimes such as drunkenness in public, shoplifting and larceny of small sums are the examples of misdemeanors. A lesser misdemeanor is known as an infraction. Parking overtime on metered parking, failing to clear snow from sidewalks, and littering are examples of infractions. Ordinarily, no jury is allowed in cases involving infractions because the punishment is no more than a fine.

Cлова к тексту 1:

1. primary [ˊpaɪmərɪ] - первостепенный

2. existence [ɪgˊzɪstəns] - существование, наличие

3. treason [ˊtri:zn] - государственная измена

4. sedition [sɪˊdɪʃən] - антиправительственная агитация, подстрека-тельство к мятежу

5. counterfeiting [ˊkauntəfɪtɪŋ] - фальшивомонетничество

6. destruction [dɪsˊtrʌkʃən] - разрушение, уничтожение

7. obstruction [əbˊstrʌkʃən] - препятствие

8. coercion [kəuˊə:ʃən] - принуждение

9. perjury [ˊpə:ʤərɪ] - лжесвидетельство

10. to safeguard [ˊseɪfga:d] - охранять, гарантировать

11. vagrancy [ˊveɪgrənsɪ] - бродяжничество

12. solicitation [səˏlɪsɪˊteɪʃən] - подстрекательство

13. obscene [ɔbˊsi:n] - непристойный, неприличный

14. incapable of consent - неспособный дать согласие

15. intrusion [ɪnˊtru:ʒən] - узурпирование чужого владения или прав

16. malicious [məˊlɪʃəs] - злонамеренный

17. extortion [ɪksˊtɔ:ʃən] - вымогательство

18. forgery [ˊfɔ:ʤərɪ] - подлог, подделывание

19. bigamy [ˊbɪgəmɪ] - бигáмия, двоеженство, двоемужие

20. polygamy [pɔˊlɪgəmɪ] - многобрачие

21. infanticide [ɪnˊfæntɪsaɪd] - детоубийство, особ. убийство ново-рожденного

22. felony [ˊfelənɪ] - тяжкое уголовное преступление

23. misdemeanor [ˏmɪsdɪˊmi:nə] - менее тяжкое преступление, судебно наказуемый проступок

24. confinement [kənˊfaɪnmənt] - тюремное заключение

25. infraction [ɪnˊfrækʃən] - нарушение (административное)

26. littering - выбрасывание мусора

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