A crime can be classified into two types: substantive criminal law or procedural criminal law. Substantive law is the set of laws that decides how members of the society must behave. Substantive law defines rights and responsibilities in civil law and crimes and punishments in criminal law. It may be classified in decrees or exist through a model in common law. For example, it must be proved that a defendant entered a dwelling with the intent of committing a felony. Only then would it be considered a burglary. It may be considered a misdemeanor if the defendant proves otherwise. The substantive consequences of a crime are severe. For example, a felony may see a defendant lose their right to vote.
Procedural law is a set or rules that determine how court proceedings take place in civil and criminal proceedings. According to the Fourth Amendment, police officers are allowed to make warrantless arrests on the basis of suspicion. The officer must have a proper reason to do so. In the case of a misdemeanor, the officer may make an arrest only if he’s seen the crime happening. Officers are usually allowed to use deadly force while arresting a felon.
The level of jurisdiction determines the types of cases that can be dealt with by a court. A court with jurisdiction only over misdemeanor cannot try a defendant charged with anything other than that. A jury is allowed to hear a case for defendants charged with capital felony offenses, but not for petty offenses or infractions. A felon has to attend his trial while a misdemeanant has a choice not to do so.
The details pertaining to the crime and its classification can have a negative impact on a trial. It is in your best interests to appoint an attorney to gain a better understanding of the different criminal laws. An experienced lawyer can devise an appropriate defense strategy and possibly negotiate for a reduced sentence or charge.