The word crime is a term widely used in the field of law . It is a term that comes from the Latin word “delinquere” which can be translated as “abandonment of the road” and this is what happens when a crime occurs, because the person who commits it deviates from the correct path that has been contemplated by law.

What is a crime?

crime , also known as a crime , is a type of social conduct that is considered violent and that also violates all codes of coexistence and legality that have been previously established by law .

  • Definition
  • Characteristics of a crime
  • Classification
  • Types
  • Elements
  • Legislation by country
  • Penalties
  • Prescription
  • Examples


The crime is a type of behavior that is shown in an individual which has been originated by some type of negligence or by own will which results in an action that goes against everything that has been established by law to achieve maintain a good coexistence in society. It is synonymous then with breaking the laws , which is why the person who commits it, must undergo a penalty, sentence or punishment.


Characteristics of a crime

The most outstanding characteristics that can be observed in a crime are mentioned below:

  • It is an act that is abominable when viewed from an ethical or moral point of view .
  • It is a conduct that violates all codes of coexistence and legality .
  • It is considered as a guilty , imputable and unlawful act .
  • It reflects the legal , historical and cultural values of a given society.
  • Crime is the subject of study of the theory of crime .
  • It is a branch of criminal law .
  • They are considered as a type of unlawful act because they have no possible justification.


Crimes can be classified as follows:

  • Crimes depending on guilt .
  • Crimes committed according to the action that has been carried out.
  • Depending on the type of offender .
  • Depending on the damage they cause .
  • Violence against other individuals such as murder, aggravated assault, robbery, attempted rape, and other sexual crimes.
  • In against property such as theft, arson.
  • Crimes related to the alteration of documents and the carrying of weapons.
  • Offenses new or featured including organized crime, the crime that is motivated by prejudice and identity theft among others.


There are several actions that can be classified as a crime and for this reason, several classifications of it have been created. Some of the most important are mentioned below:

  • Guilty crime : also known as reckless crime and in it, the offender did not intend to commit a crime but nevertheless, due to his recklessness, commits it.
  • Intentional crime : this type implies that the person who has committed the crime has done it consciously , that is, he knew what he was doing so it was not an act that happened accidentally but rather premeditated .
  • Preterintentional : here, the person who did the crime, expected to carry out a lesser event than what actually happened.
  • By commission : it occurs when an individual has committed a crime by his own hand , in other words, he is solely responsible for the action that has been committed.
  • By omission : it occurs as a consequence of the inaction of an offender for something or situation that he did not do or did not allow to happen. It can be by own omission or by improper omission.
  • Special crime : a person who occupies a position of privilege or importance has been committed .
  • Common crime : any citizen can commit it.
  • Injury : occurs when significant damage occurs to the person to whom the crime is committed and also includes legal assets.


The elements or components that are part of the crime are the following:

  • Action or inaction : this element is a type of act that has been committed or that otherwise has been stopped and that causes significant harm to other people.
  • Typicity : this depends on the crime, on whether or not it is contemplated within the penal code.
  • Juridicity : it depends on whether or not there are mitigating considerations that are part of the process.
  • Degree of guilt : it implies if there is a desire to commit a certain crime and to what extent. Guilt can be due to recklessness , negligence , inexperience , non – observance of the rules.
  • Imputability : it is the capacity of the person who commits the crime, also called a criminal, to be brought to justice .
  • Punishment : implies the option of actually executing a penalty or sanction.
  • Unlawfulness of the crime : refers to the opposite of the law , which means that it is an act that goes against the legal system that is in force.

Legislation by country


In the country, crimes are regulated by the Organic Law of the Penal Code which has been in force since 1996. It is a kind of organic law divided into two groups where established infringements and sanctions criminal, the crime and the states of dangerousness of them.


In Mexico , they are seen as actions or omissions that must be sanctioned through criminal laws , these crimes can also be of common or federal order . It is the Federal Penal Code , which operates throughout the country, in charge of establishing order and in it, there are several of the crimes and criminal responsibilities, penalties, sanctions and security measures.


In Colombia they are regulated by means of the Penal Code which includes a group of norms of a punitive legal nature of the State in which the penalties that can be applied to those who commit some type of crime are recognized .


Crimes are also regulated through the Penal Code of the Republic of Chile , a normative body that is in charge of regulating crimes and their punishment in the country. It began to rule in 1875 and consists of 501 articles and 3 books.


Crime matters in Argentina are regulated through the Argentine Penal Code , specifically in its second book, where a description of all crimes is made, as well as their different modalities and corresponding criminal rankings .


In this country, they are qualified depending on their seriousness and can be against property or against people . In its jurisdiction , serious crimes, minor crimes and a third category called infractions are contemplated .


The penalties are the resources used by the State to be able to face the crime and to punish the person who has committed it . It is then a type of sanction that includes the loss or restriction of all personal rights that a person has who has been found guilty of a certain crime.


prescription of the crime consists of the omission and disappearance of all types of criminal responsibility in the person who committed a certain crime, this because time has passed and the complaint expires. This also supposes the extinction of all types of commitment on the part of the offender and is based and based on constitutional principles .


Some examples of crime are mentioned below:

  • Terrorism.
  • Treason.
  • Arson.
  • Crimes of gender violence.
  • Drug trafficking.
  • Administrative and political crimes : bribery , prevarication , urban planning, influence peddling , embezzlement, fraud.

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