This article will provide insight into the general criminal law in the United States of America. There are two types of common law in every state, that is civil and criminal law. Under civil law, the liability is on other individuals or an organization for infringing the rights of one person. In criminal law, the offences are usually directed against the state. For example, in most criminal cases you see Anthony Vs. State of Utah. These offences would include murder, arson, wildlife smuggling, begging, and theft to name a few.
Each state has their own criminal Codes which vary substantially from each other. While some statutes resemble the common law criminal code, others, like the New York Penal Law, closely mimic the Model Penal Code (MPC). Congress codified the federal criminal law and criminal procedure in Title 18 of the U.S. Code with §§ 1 to 2725 dealing with crimes and the same designates various conduct as federal crimes, such as arson, use of chemical weapons, counterfeit and forgery, embezzlement, espionage, genocide, and kidnapping.
“Only the government initiates a criminal case, usually through the U.S. attorney’s office, in coordination with a law enforcement agency. At the beginning of a federal criminal case, the principal actors are the U.S. Attorney (the prosecutor) and the grand jury. The U.S. Attorney represents the United States in most court proceedings, including all criminal prosecutions. The grand jury reviews evidence presented by the U.S. Attorney and decided whether it is sufficient to require a defendant to stand trial.”
A crime has three parts: the act (actus reus), the intent, and the act. Generally, crimes can be divided into the following categories: crimes against a person, crimes against property, sexual crimes, public morality, crimes against the state, and Inchoate crimes. The American Model Penal Code defines the purpose of criminal law as to prevent any conduct that cause or may cause harm to people or society, to enact public order, to define what crimes are criminal, to warn the public about what is a crime, and to make the clear distinction between a minor and a serious offense. As stated earlier for an act to be called a crime, there are certain essentials like guilty mind/intention to commit a crime, weapon, etc., in the case of United States v. Hudson and Goodwin, 11 U.S. (7 Cranch) 32 (1812), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that Congress must first enact a constitutional law criminalizing an activity, attach a penalty, and give the federal courts jurisdiction over the offense in order for the court to render a conviction.
As stated earlier, each state law varies and, in any instance, if there are state laws that do not speak on certain matters, then common law would be referred to or judicial precedents. More than a dozen states expressly retain a role for common law crimes, some of which include Alabama, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington – all which recognize the common law authority of judges to convict for conduct not criminalized by statute.
“Naturally, in a criminal trial, the burden of proof solely lies on the government; instead, the government must provide evidence to convince the jury of the defendant’s guilt. The standard of proof in a criminal trial gives the prosecutor a much greater burden than the plaintiff in a civil trial. The defendant must be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which means the evidence must be so strong that there is no reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. Criminal cases include limited pretrial discovery proceedings, similar to those in civil cases, but with restrictions to protect the identity of government informants and to prevent intimidation of witnesses.”
The first few amendments to the Bill of Rights bore the basics of the establishment of American criminal legislation. The purview of criminal law consists of a concept called “innocent until proven guilty”. As such Defendants / or criminals too have the right to be heard in a just and fair trial. Therefore, the government/prosecutor should prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an offense took place and was committed by the Defendant.
“Legal systems generally include some restriction against prosecuting a person more than once for the same offense. In Anglo-American law the most difficult problems of double jeopardy involve the question of whether the second prosecution is for the “same” or a “different” offense. It is held that acquittal or conviction of an offense prohibits subsequent prosecution of a lesser offense that was included in the first. According to the U.S. Supreme Court in Blockburger v. United States, 284 U.S. 299, 304 (1932), the test to be applied to determine whether there are two offenses or only one is whether each provision requires proof of a fact that the other does not. In continental European law, on the other hand, the question is whether the second prosecution concerns the same “material fact” or “historical event,” and the state cannot subject a person to a second trial for any offense arising out of the same factual situation.”
 criminal law | Wex | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute (cornell.edu)  Ibid.  Criminal Cases | United States Courts (uscourts.gov)  Nemeth, Charles P. (2011). Criminal Law (2nd ed.). Hoboken: CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4398-9787-4. OCLC 908077558.  Ibid.  Wilson, William (2017). Criminal law (6th ed.). Harlow, England. pp. 4–6. ISBN 978-1-292-12907-5. OCLC 988325743.  United States v. Hudson - Wikipedia  "The Myth of Common Law Crimes – Virginia Law Review". 2019-09-30. Retrieved 2023-03-09.  Criminal Cases | United States Courts (uscourts.gov)  Criminal law - Offenses, Punishments, Jurisdiction | Britannica