1. A violation of criminal law (an act becomes a crime if it violates the country's legal code).
-crime requires a guilty mind (mens rea) and a guilty action (actus reus)
2. A crime occurs, when someone is found guilty in a court of law.
-an action isn't considered criminal, unless there are laws that prohibit it from happening
-an action isn't considered criminal until it is formally decided by the criminal justice system.
-a lot of crimes aren't reported, therefore never make it to court
-many criminal acts aren't prosecuted
-infringement of habeas corpus
3. A crime is behaviour that has been defined as such by the agents of the criminal justice system.
-basically a crime is only a crime if it defined as one
-not a crime to not wear a seatbelt until recently because it was recently defined as a crime
-panhandling, not a problem until the cities defined it as a crime mainly due to the tourism industries
(social construct of crime)
Something that society has deemed normal.
e.g. (non-social norms)
-picking your nose in public
-walking on people's property
-hitting people randomly, unless in self-defence
Some social norms eventually become laws
spitting in public is considered rude, and some places have laws prohibiting it
Contested Social Norms:
-smoking in public
-topless in public
-cell phone use while driving
-legality of marijuana
-drinking while pregnant