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When a society and its government decide that certain conduct is dangerous to citizens, or damaging to the society as a whole, such conduct is labeled a "crime" and is made punishable by sanctions such as fines and imprisonment. Most crimes are identified in statutes that have been enacted by federal, state, and local government legislatures, in response to issues that affect the jurisdiction.
For most people, familiarity with criminal law comes in fragments -- from movies, television, and books. But when we become personally involved in the criminal law system, real-life issues come into focus and the need for information and assistance can arise quickly.