Legal Terms – Essay Example

Compare and contrast the notion of moral laws vs. criminal law. Human beings are guided and directed by many s of behaviour. The biggest distinction between these codes is between moral laws and criminal laws. There is no exhaustive list of moral rules in any society. People must come to terms with their own values and ideas of what is wrong and what is right, although there are a number of societal norms in this regard. Generally speaking it is considered wrong to lie, for example, but it is not generally illegal to do so (although in some circumstances it may be). Moral laws are rules we use to keep society running well. There is no serious penalty or sanction to ignoring them.
Criminal laws, however, are different. They are codified and chosen by society. Crimes are serious violations of moral laws. People who commit crimes are subject to serious penalties and sanctions. They may even lose their personal liberty and be put in prison. Society chooses to stigmatize such people. That is because crimes have a serious impact on society. Murder, for example, is a significant disruption. People need to feel safe in order to go about their lives. Therefore this crime is chosen as the most serious. Criminal laws are usually exhaustive and must usually involve intent. Generally there is a high threshold required to prove criminal intent.
Moral and criminal laws are similar in some ways. Both are things society feels are important, but the second is much more serious. For anyone pursuing a legal career it is important to know the difference between the two.