Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    A public offense; a wrong against the public; includes every offense. See 24 How. (U. S.) 66,, 16 L. Ed. 717.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    A crime is an act committed or omitted, in violation of a public law, either forbidding or commanding it; a breach or violation of some public right or duty due to a whole community, considered as a community in Its social aggregate capacity, as distinguished from a civil injury. Wilkins v. U. S., 96 Fed. 837, 37 C. C. A. 588; Pounder v. Ashe, 36 Neb. 564, 54 N. W. 847 ; State v. Bishop, 7 Conn. 185 ; In re Bergln, 31 Wis. 386; State v. Brazier, 37 Ohio St. 78; People v. Williams, 24 Mich. 163, 9 Am. Rep. 119; In re Clark, 9 Wend. (N. Y.) 212. "Crime" and "misdemeanor," properly speaking, are synonymous terms; though in common usage "crime" is made to denote such offenses as are of a deeper and more atrocious dye. 4 Bl. Comm 5. Crimes are those wrongs which the government notices as injurious to the public, and punishes in what is called a "criminal proceeding," in Its own name. 1 Bish. Crim. Law, § 43. A crime may be defined to be any act done in violation of those duties which an individual owes to the community, and for the breach of which the law has provided that the offender shall make satisfaction to the public. Bell. A crime or public offense is an act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it, and to which is annexed, upon conviction, either of the following punishments:
    (1) Death;
    (2) imprisonment;
    (3) fine;
    (4) removal from office; or
    (5) disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit in this state. Pen. Code Cal. § 15. A crime or misdemeanor shall consist in a violation of a public law, in the commission of which there shall be a union or joint operation of act and intention, or criminal negligence. Code Ga. 1882, § 4292. Synonyms. According to Blackstone, the word "crime" denotes such offenses as are of a deeper and more atrocious dye, while smaller faults and omissions of less consequence are called "misdemeanors." But the batter use appears to be to make crime a term of broad and general import, including both felonies and misdemeanors, and hence covering nil infract tions of the criminal law. In this sense it is not a technical phrase, strictly speaking, (as "felony" and "misdemeanor" are,) but a convenient general term. In this sense, also, "offense" or "public offense" should be used as synonymous with it. The distinction between a crime and a tort or civil injury is that the former is a breach and violation of the public right and of duties due to the whole community considered as such, and in its social and aggregate capacity; whereas the latter is an infringement or privation of the civil rights of individuals merely. Brown. A crime, as opposed to a civil injury, is the violation of a right, considered in reference to the evil tendency of such violation, as regards the community at large. 4 Steph. Comm. 4. Varieties of crimes.
    —Capital crime. One for which the punishment of death is prescribed and inflicted. Walker v. State, 28 Tex. App. 503, 13 S. W. 860; Ex parte Dusenberry, 07 Mo. 504, 11 S. W. 217.
    —Commou-law crimes. Such crimes as are punishable by the force of the common law, as distinguished from crimes created by statute. Wilkins v. U. S., 96 Fed. 837, 37 C G A. 588; In re Greene (C. C.) 52 Fed. 111. These decisions (and many others) hold that there are no common-law crimes against the United States.
    —Constructive crime. See Constructive.
    —Continuous crime. One consisting of a continuous series of acts, which endures after the period of consummation, as, the offense of carrying concealed weapons. In the case of instantaneous crimes, the statute of limitations begins to run with the consummation, while in the'case of continuous crimes it only begins with the cessation of the criminal conduct or act. U. S. v. Owen (D Ct) 32 Fed. 537.
    —Crime against nature. The offense of buggery or sodomy. State v. Vicknair, 52 La. Ann. 1921, 28 South. 273 ; Ausman v. Veal, 10 Ind. 355, 71 Am Dec. 331; People v. Williams, 59 Cal. 307.
    —High crimes. High crimes and misdemeanors are such immoral and unlawful acts as are nearly allied and equal in guilt to felony, yet, owing to some technical circumstance, do not fall within the definition of "felony." State v. Knapp, 6 Conn. 417, 16 Am. Dec. 68.
    —Infamous crime. A crime which entails in-famv upon one who has committed it. Butler v. Wentworth, 84 Me. 25, 24 Ali. 456, 17 L. R. A. 764. The term "infamous"
    —i. e., without fame or good report
    —was applied at common law to certain .crimes, upon the conviction of which a person became incompetent to testify as a witness, upon the theory that a person would not commit so heinous a crime unless he was so depraved as to be unworthy of credit. These crimes are treason, felony, and the crimen falsi. Abbott. A crime punishable by imprisonment in the state prison or penitentiary, with or without hard labor, is an infamous crime, within the provision of the fifth amendment of the constitution that "no person shall be held to answer fur a capital or otherwise infamous crime uniess on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury." Mackin v. U. S.. 117 U. S. 34a 6 Sup. CL 777, 29 L Ed. 909. "Infamous," as used in the fifth amendment to the United States constitution, in reference to crimes, includes those only of the class called "crimen falsi," which both involve the charge of falsehood, and may also injuriously affect the public administration of justice by introducing falsehood and fraud. U. S. v. Block, 15 N. B. R. 325, Fed. Oas. No. 14,609. By tbs Revised Statutes of New York the term "infamous crime," when used in any statute, is directed to as construed as including every offense pun-isbable with death or by imprisonment in a state-prison, and no other. 2 Rev. St. (p. 702, § 31,) p. 587, § 32,
    —Quasi crimes. This term embraces ali offenses not crimes or misdemeanors, but that are in the nature of crimes,
    —a class of offenses against the public which have not been declared crimes, but wrongs against the general or local public which it is proper should be repressed or punished by forfeitures and penalties. This would embrace all qui tarn actions and forfeitures imposed for the neglect or violation of a public duty. A quasi crime would not embrace an indictable offense, whatever might be its grade, but simply forfeitures for a wrong done to the public, whether voluntary or involuntary, where a penalty is given, whether recoverable by criminal or civil process. Wiggins v. Chicago, 68 111. 375.
    —Statutory crimes. Those created by statutes, as distinguished from such as are known to, cr cognizable by, the common law.