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Behavior that violates the penal law. A crime is a deviant behavior, which violates the norms, values, and morals of society. Crimes must be understood in both a historical and a cultural context. The law is dynamic and constantly changes. Behaviors deemed deviant in one time period may not be viewed as such in the current time period. In the same respect, behavior considered criminal or deviant in one country may not be viewed so in another. Governments are responsible for controlling criminal behavior; such behavior undermines society's process of social control, reduces citizen confidence, and jeopardizes public safety.

The legislature is charged with developing the penal law, both the substantive and the procedural components. The substantive law defines the elements of the crime and the ...

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