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Criminal Law

Criminal laws--those dealing with homicide, illegal drugs, theft, and other antisocial behavior--are enforced by agents of the state against specific persons or corporations. If a person is a victim of a crime, that person will be a witness in the prosecution of the criminal case. The victim does not prosecute the criminal case and does not have the right to determine if the state will prosecute the criminal. Although the state may do so, a victim cannot offer not to press charges if the perpetrator makes restitution. This is because the criminal law is designed to protect society as a whole rather than to compensate individuals who have been victims of criminal activity. This is why the cases are titled "State versus John Smith."

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