Characteristics of Crime
Ideally, a human behavior cannot be called as a crime, unless at least seven characteristics of crime are present which are as under:
- Harm should have been caused, mere intention is not enough.
- The harm must be legally forbidden. Anti-social behavior is not crime unless prohibited by law.
- There must be conduct which brings harmful results.
- Men’s rea or criminal intent must be present.
- There must be a fusion or concurrence of men’s rea and conduct.
- The harm caused must be natural consequences of the voluntary act.
- There must be legally prescribed punishment.
However, there are many exceptions to the above generalizations of criminal behavior, some legal philosophers have tried to determine how society is protected when certain behavior is treated as crime, for example, in the following circumstances:
- Firstly, crime is said to be violations of the fundamental morality in a society is to survive.
- Secondly, crime calls for punishment and if it is not punished, the society would take the law inot its own hands.
- Thirdly, crime is where State interference is very effective in preventing it since it cannot be controlled in any other way.
- According to Stephen, it is an act which is both forbidden by law and inciting the moral sentiments of the society.