criminal law


Definition of criminal law 

: the law of crimes and their punishments

Examples of criminal law in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

My personal Sharia tells me how to pray, how to fast, how to follow my personal pietistic laws, but then there is Sharia that gets involved in criminal law, that gets involved in prohibiting siege. Fox News, "Dr. Zuhdi Jasser on terror threats facing the United States," 18 June 2018 Mike Cassidy, a professor of criminal law at Boston College Law School and former prosecutor, is not involved with this specific case, but is familiar with the fact pattern. Jake Fischer And Jon Wertheim,, "Could a Rogue FBI Agent Derail the NCAA Corruption Probe?," 23 May 2018 The case has also cast a light on the uneasy relationships police officers develop with street sources, usually criminals who provide tips on other criminals law enforcement officials are seeking. Maria Cramer,, "DA, police at odds over Somerville detective’s fate," 30 Apr. 2018 The second sentencing case may be more notable for the attorney who argued it than for its impact on criminal law. Jess Bravin, WSJ, "Supreme Court Gives Prisoners Another Chance to Fix Sentencing Errors," 18 June 2018 Celso Vilardi, an expert in criminal law and a professor at the Fundacao Getulio Vargas university, agreed. Washington Post, "Brazil judge rules to keep da Silva in jail after dispute," 8 July 2018 That report recommended public statutes should avoid legislating morality, and that the government should remove consensual homosexual liaisons from criminal law. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of “A Very English Scandal” and the Trials of a Closeted Gay Politician," 27 June 2018 Phillips' attorney Steve Komie told the Tribune the review board determined Phillips hadn't violated any civil, canon or criminal law. Fox News, "Chicago priest stripped of duties amid misconduct probe," 25 June 2018 Rebecca Roiphe, a professor of legal ethics and criminal law at New York Law School, said. New York Times, "Michael Cohen Seeks Gag Order on Lawyer for Stormy Daniels," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'criminal law.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of criminal law

1672, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for criminal law

Last Updated

27 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for criminal law

The first known use of criminal law was in 1672

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More Definitions for criminal law

criminal law


English Language Learners Definition of criminal law

: laws that deal with crimes and their punishments

criminal law


Legal Definition of criminal law 

: public law that deals with crimes and their prosecution — compare civil law

Note: Substantive criminal law defines crimes, and procedural criminal law sets down criminal procedure. Substantive criminal law was originally common law for the most part. It was later codified and is now found in federal and state statutory law.

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