The Functions of Criminal Law

Criminal law plays various purposes in society. However, many may view criminal law as an instrument designed to oppress. Others view it as a state power used to suppress the freedom of the offender. But people have their views depending on how they understand the purpose of criminal law and how it is exercised. 

As a criminal lawyer or criminal defense lawyers, criminal defense lawyers are tasked with defending a person or individual accused of committing a crime. Their work is to represent, but dig facts, research, analyze cases, and present their finding in a court of law to negotiate the accused’s freedom. So, criminal law in society focuses on eliminating bad behavior by enforcing justice. 

If you are still wondering what is criminal law and its role, here are a few highlights below.

Maintaining Order

Criminal law is designed to offer predictability by allowing people or society, in general, to know what to expect from others. The best way to understand criminal law is to picture a community without that law how it would function. It would mean looking for personal means to get protection because there would be no army or police. But law brings peace of mind, safety, wider social structures, and productive society. 

They are many types of laws, and all are important to help protect society in our day to day lives. So, criminal helps to avoid a chaotic situation in the society and uncertainty. 

Resolving Disputes

The concept of law old as mankind and plays an important role from group structures to domestic interactions; the law has impacted how people deal with conflict. Law makes the process of resolving disputes between two citizens or more possible. It is designed to bring both sides into an agreement by providing a peaceful and orderly way to settle grievances. 

So, the law has a system where anyone can present their disputes with an impartial jury or judge. Another alternative to resolve disputes is for both disagreeing parties to settle their issues together and find an amicable solution without going to the court of law. Also, various courts can play a role in resolving disputes from the local level to the federal level to conclude who should be declared the winner in a dispute. 

The legal system is continuously looking for an alternative method of dealing with dispute issues as there is still a big gap dividing the opposing opinions of the impact of the law of conflict management. So, resolving disputes is one of the effective areas that functions of the criminal law plays a part to bring solution between the warring factions. 

Protecting Individuals and Property

Criminal law provides security to citizens from criminals that endanger their lives through physical harm or forcefully taking their valuables. For instance, in America, a capitalist nation, property is very important, and the majority of criminal laws are designed to bring punishment to those who steal. 

Providing for Smooth Functioning of Society

Through criminal law, the government can play important roles such as controlling pollution, collecting taxes, and achieving other socially useful tasks. 

Safeguarding Civil Liberties

Criminal law protects the rights of every person in society. It is designed to protect individuals from other individuals, the government, and organizations. The Bill of Rights amendments prevent the government from creating any law that would affect an individual’s rights to free speech. But it also has some exceptions depending on what the law considers free speech. 

Living without Laws

Life without criminal laws in any society would be hard to set standards. Anyone can see the act of murder or theft is a crime, but only law can offer a good framework for setting other kinds of standards depending on their degree. For instance, if there were no Code of Regulations, it wouldn’t be easy for businesses and individuals to transact through banks. They are responsible for enforcing rules and regulations regarding employment laws, taxes, insurance, commercial transactions, and other areas. 

How Criminal Law Deals with the Offender

Criminal law aims to see the offender is punished for their actions if found guilty. Criminal law was designed since there are people in society that are inclined to doing evil. When the law finds a way to punish the offenders, other people in society may learn how to avoid repeating the same mistake. 

If society could control their behaviors without committing any crime, there would be no need to create criminal law. But sometimes, you may wonder, why do people commit a crime? Many things may prompt an individual to commit a crime. They can be caused as a result of:

  • Free choice
  • Environment
  • Association with other criminals
  • Individual’s behavior and lack of commitment to conform 

What are the Aims of Punishment?

Crime and punishment are inseparable bedfellows. For instance, a death penalty given to the offender aims to protect the public from such people for committing a specific crime and deter other people from repeating similar acts. Here are some of the recognized aims of punishment:

  • Protection – Punishment protects offenders from themselves and from society
  • Retribution – This is a punishment whereby offenders are sentenced depending on their crime intensity to pay for their wrongdoing. 
  • Deterrence – Deters others from committing the same offence
  • Vindication – The punishment allows us to learn from the sentence of the offender and ensure the law is given the respect it deserves
  • Reformation – Punishment for crime is to allow the criminal to reform from their evil ways.
  • Reparation – This one is where the crime victim is compensated due to the crime committed to them.


Criminal law is seen as an impersonal and dry field. It is very important to the safety of the people and their well-being. A famous philosopher Plato said that “Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens”

So, criminal law functions play an important role in society and uphold the rule of law.