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West's Business Law with Online Research Guide, 9th Edition

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CLASSIFICATION OF CRIMES Crime: A wrong committed against society, as defined in a statute and punishable by fines, imprisonment, and, in some cases, by death. Depending on their degree of seriousness, crimes are classified as felonies or misdemeanors . Felony: A crime – such as murder, rape, or robbery – that carries the most severe sanction, ranging from one or more year(s) in prison to forfeiture of one’s life. Misdemeanor: A lesser crime – such as disorderly conduct, trespass, or petty theft – punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to one year. Petty Offense: A subset of misdemeanor, comprised of the least serious criminal offenses, such as traffic violations and jaywalking. Ch. 8: Criminal Law and Cyber Crimes - No. 1 West’s Business Law (9th ed.)
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CRIMINAL LIABILITY Requisites: A person may not be criminally liable unless she (1) performed some prohibited act (or failed to perform some legally required act) (2) with a specified state of mind or intent . The mental state or the degree of intent required varies from crime to crime; however, absent the requisite mens rea , there can be no criminal liability, even for what may seem to be the most heinous acts. Burden of Proof: Because criminal liability carries harsher penalties than civil liability, and because the State has many more resources at its disposal in prosecuting a crime than the typical criminal defendant has at her disposal, the State must prove the alleged criminal’s guilt of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt . By contrast, a civil plaintiff suing the same defendant need only prove the defendant’s civil liability by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning only that it Ch. 8: Criminal Law and Cyber Crimes - No. 2 West’s Business Law (9th ed.)
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is more likely than not that the defendant’s acts or omissions caused the civil wrong). Ch. 8: Criminal Law and Cyber Crimes - No. 3 West’s Business Law (9th ed.)
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CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY A corporation may be criminally liable if: (1) an agent or employee of the corporation (a) commits a criminal act within the scope of her employment and (b) the criminal act violates a statute whose purpose is to impose liability on the corporation; or (2) the crime consists of a failure to perform a specific duty imposed on the corporation by law ; or (3) the crime was authorized, requested, commanded, committed, or recklessly tolerated by a “high managerial agent.” A corporate officer or director may be criminally liable for (1) her own criminal acts , regardless of whether she committed them for her own benefit or the benefit of the corporation, as well as (2) crimes committed by those under her supervision . Under the responsible corporate officer doctrine, a corporate officer may be criminally liable even if she Ch. 8: Criminal Law and Cyber Crimes - No. 4 West’s Business Law (9th ed.)
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did not participate in, direct, or even know of the criminal violation .
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