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Classification and categorisation 1


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Categorisation by type
The following classes of offences are used, or have been used, as legal terms of art:

 

Offence against the person
Violent offence
Sexual offence
Offence against property

Researchers and commentators have classified crimes into the following categories, in addition to those above:

Forgery, personation and cheating
Firearms and offensive weapons
Offences against the State/offences against the Crown and Government/political offences
Harmful or dangerous drugs
Offences against religion and public worship
Offences against public justice/offences against the administration of public justice
Public order offence
Commerce, financial markets and insolvency
Offences against public morals and public policy
Motor vehicle offences
Conspiracy, incitement and attempt to commit crime
Inchoate offence
Juvenile delinquency
Victimless crime

Categorisation by penalty
One can categorise crimes depending on the related punishment, with sentencing tariffs prescribed in line with the perceived seriousness of the offence. Thus fines and noncustodial sentences may address the crimes seen as least serious, with lengthy imprisonment or (in some jurisdictions) capital punishment reserved for the most serious.

Common law
Under the common law of England, crimes were classified as either treason, felony or misdemeanour, with treason sometimes being included with the felonies. This system was based on the perceived seriousness of the offence. It is still used in the United States but the distinction between felony and misdemeanour is abolished in England and Wales and Northern Ireland.

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