offense (<<schwa>>-fents).1. A violation of the law; a crime, often a minor one. See CRIME. — Also termed criminal offense. [Cases: Criminal Law 1. C.J.S. Affray §§ 2–12; Criminal Law§§ 2–8, 13.]

“The terms ‘crime,’ ‘offense,’ and ‘criminal offense’ are all said to be synonymous, and ordinarily used interchangeably. ‘Offense’ may comprehend every crime and misdemeanor, or may be used in a specific sense as synonymous with ‘felony’ or with ‘misdemeanor,’ as the case may be, or as signifying a crime of lesser grade, or an act not indictable, but punishable summarily or by the forfeiture of a penalty.” 22 C.J.S. Criminal Law § 3, at 4 (1989).

acquisitive offense.An offense characterized by the unlawful appropriation of another’s property. • This is a generic term that refers to a variety of crimes (such as larceny) rather than a particular one.

allied offense.A crime with elements so similar to those of another that the commission of the

one is automatically the commission of the other.

anticipatory offense.See inchoate offense.

arrestable offense.English law. An offense for which the punishment is fixed by law or for which a statute authorizes imprisonment for five years, or an attempt to commit such an offense. • This statutory category, created in 1967, abolished the traditional distinction between felonies and

misdemeanors. — Also spelled (esp. in BrE) arrestable offence.

bailable offense.A criminal charge for which a defendant may be released from custody after

providing proper security <misdemeanor theft is a bailable offense>. [Cases: Bail 43. C.J.S. Bail;

Release and Detention Pending Proceedings §§ 18–23.]

capital offense.A crime for which the death penalty may be imposed. — Also termed capital

crime. [Cases: Sentencing and Punishment 1666.] civil offense.See public tort under TORT.

cognate offense.A lesser offense that is related to the greater offense because it shares several of the elements of the greater offense and is of the same class or category. • For example, shoplifting is a cognate offense of larceny because both crimes require the element of taking property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property. Cf. lesser included offense.

[Cases: Indictment and Information 191(.5).]

compound offense.An offense composed of one or more separate offenses. • For example,

robbery is a compound offense composed of larceny and assault.

continuing offense.A crime (such as a conspiracy) that is committed over a period of time, so that the last act of the crime controls when the statute of limitations begins to run. [Cases:

Criminal Law 150. C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 200–201.] cumulative offense.An offense committed by repeating the same act at different times.

divisible offense.A crime that includes one or more crimes of lesser grade. • For example,

murder is a divisible offense comprising assault, battery, and assault with intent to kill.

extraneous offense.An offense beyond or unrelated to the offense for which a defendant is on

trial. [Cases: Criminal Law 369.2(1). C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 825–826.]

graded offense.A crime that is divided into various degrees of severity with corresponding levels of punishment, such as murder (first-degree and second-degree) or assault (simple and aggravated). See DEGREE(2). [Cases: Criminal Law 28. C.J.S. Criminal Law §§ 9, 13.] impeachable offense.See IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE.

inchoate offense.A step toward the commission of another crime, the step in itself being serious enough to merit punishment. • The three inchoate offenses are attempt, conspiracy, and solicitation. The term is sometimes criticized (see quot. below). — Also termed anticipatory offense; inchoate crime; preliminary crime. [Cases: Conspiracy 23.1; Criminal Law 44. C.J.S. Conspiracy §§ 98, 100–103, 110; Criminal Law §§ 114–123.]

“These preliminary crimes have sometimes been erroneously described as ‘inchoate’ offences. This is misleading because the word ‘inchoate’ connotes something which is not yet completed, and it is therefore not accurately used to denote something which is itself complete, even though it be a link in a chain of events leading to some object which is not yet attained. The offence of incitement is fully performed even though the person incited immediately repudiates the suggested

deed, a conspiracy is committed although the conspirators have not yet moved to execute their purposed crime, and the performance of a criminal attempt must always have been reached before the end is gained. In all these instances it is the ultimate crime which is inchoate and not the preliminary crime, the position indeed being just the same as in the example imagined above of a man who stole a revolver and committed other crimes in order to effect his purpose of murder. There the murder was inchoate, but the larceny and other crimes (including the attempt) were completed.” J.W. Cecil Turner, Kenny’s Outlines of Criminal Law 77 (16th ed. 1952).

included offense.See lesser included offense.

index offense.One of eight classes of crimes reported annually by the FBI in the Uniform Crime Report. • The eight classes are murder (and nonnegligent homicide), rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, arson, and auto theft. — Also termed index crime. indictable offense.A crime that can be prosecuted only by indictment. • In federal court, such an offense is one punishable by death or by imprisonment for more than one year or at hard labor. Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(a). See INDICTMENT. [Cases: Indictment and Information 3. C.J.S.

Indictments and Informations § 6.] international offense.See INTERNATIONAL CRIME.

joint offense.An offense (such as conspiracy) committed by the participation of two or more


lesser included offense.A crime that is composed of some, but not all, of the elements of a more serious crime and that is necessarily committed in carrying out the greater crime <battery is a lesser included offense of murder>. • For double-jeopardy purposes, a lesser included offense is considered the “same offense” as the greater offense, so that acquittal or conviction of either offense precludes a separate trial for the other. — Also termed lesser offense; included offense; necessarily included offense. Cf. cognate offense predicate act; predicate offense. [Cases: Indictment and Information 189, 191. C.J.S. Indictments and Informations §§ 218, 220, 230–231,


liquor offense.Any crime involving the inappropriate use or sale of intoxicating liquor. See


131–176. C.J.S. Intoxicating Liquors §§ 2–20, 222, 237–288.]

major offense.An offense the commission of which involves one or more lesser included

offenses, as murder may include assault and battery.

military offense.See MILITARY OFFENSE.

multiple offense.An offense that violates more than one law but that may require different proof so that an acquittal or conviction under one statute does not exempt the defendant from prosecution under another. [Cases: Double Jeopardy 134. C.J.S. Criminal Law § 253.] necessarily included offense.See lesser included offense.

negligent offense.A violation of law arising from a defective discharge of duty or from

criminal negligence. See criminal negligence under NEGLIGENCE.

object offense.The crime that is the object of the defendant’s attempt, solicitation, conspiracy, or complicity. • For example, murder is the object offense in a charge of attempted murder. — Also termed target offense.

offense against property.A crime against another’s personal property. • The common-law offenses against property were larceny, embezzlement, cheating, cheating by false pretenses, robbery, receiving stolen goods, malicious mischief, forgery, and uttering forged instruments. Although the term crimes against property, a common term in modern usage, includes crimes against real property, the term offense against property is traditionally restricted to personal property. Cf. CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY.

offense against public justice and authority.A crime that impairs the administration of justice. • The common-law offenses of this type were obstruction of justice, barratry, maintenance, champerty, embracery, escape, prison breach, rescue, misprision of felony, compounding a crime, subornation of perjury, bribery, and misconduct in office.

offense against the habitation.A crime against another’s house — traditionally either arson or


offense against the person.A crime against the body of another human being. • The common-law offenses against the person were murder, manslaughter, mayhem, rape, assault, battery, robbery, false imprisonment, abortion, seduction, kidnapping, and abduction. Cf. CRIMES


offense against the public health, safety, comfort, and morals.A crime traditionally viewed as endangering the whole of society. • The common-law offenses of this type were nuisance, bigamy, adultery, fornication, lewdness, illicit cohabitation, incest, miscegenation, sodomy, bestiality, buggery, abortion, and seduction.

offense against the public peace.A crime that tends to disturb the peace. • The common-law

offenses of this type were riot, unlawful assembly, dueling, rout, affray, forcible entry and detainer, and libel on a private person. [Cases: Breach of the Peace 1–14. C.J.S. Breach of the Peace §§

2–13; Domestic Abuse and Violence§§ 3, 6.]

petty offense.A minor or insignificant crime. 18 USCA § 19. See MISDEMEANOR. Cf. serious offense.

“[W]e find … an apparent implication that a ‘petty offense’ is not a ‘crime.’ Much could be said for such a position but it is not the law at the present time. In the federal penal code, for example, it is provided that any misdemeanor ‘the penalty for which does not exceed imprisonment for a period of six months or a fine of not more than $500, or both, is a petty offense.’ ” Rollin M. Perkins & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 22 (3d ed. 1982) (quoting 18 USCA § 1(3)).

political offense.See POLITICAL OFFENSE.

predicate offense. 1. An earlier offense that can be used to enhance a sentence levied for a later conviction. • Predicate offenses are defined by statute and are not uniform from state to state.

2. See lesser included offense.

public offense.An act or omission forbidden by law.

public-welfare offense.A minor offense that does not involve moral delinquency and is prohibited only to secure the effective regulation of conduct in the interest of the community. • An example is driving a car with one brake-light missing. — Also termed regulatory offense; contravention.

regulatory offense. 1. A statutory crime, as opposed to a common-law crime. 2. See

public-welfare offense.

same offense. 1. For double-jeopardy purposes, the same criminal act, omission, or transaction for which the person has already stood trial. See DOUBLE JEOPARDY. [Cases: Double Jeopardy 132.1.] 2. For sentencing and enhancement-of-punishment purposes, an offense that is quite similar to a previous one.

second offense.An offense committed after conviction for a first offense. • The previous

conviction, not the indictment, forms the basis of the charge of a second offense.

separate offense. 1. An offense arising out of the same event as another offense but containing some differences in elements of proof. • A person may be tried, convicted, and sentenced for each separate offense. 2. An offense arising out of a different event entirely from another offense under consideration.

serious offense.An offense not classified as a petty offense and usu. carrying at least a

six-month sentence. — Also termed serious crime. Cf. petty offense.

sexual offense.An offense involving unlawful sexual conduct, such as prostitution, indecent

exposure, incest, pederasty, and bestiality.

status offense. 1. See status crime under CRIME. 2. A minor’s violation of the juvenile code by doing some act that would not be considered illegal if an adult did it, but that indicates that the minor is beyond parental control. • Examples include running away from home, truancy, and incorrigibility. See JUVENILE DELINQUENCY.

strict-liability offense.An offense for which the action alone is enough to warrant a conviction, with no need to prove a mental state. • For example, illegal parking is a strict-liability offense.

substantive offense (s<<schwa>>b-st<<schwa>>n-tiv). A crime that is complete in itself and is not dependent on another crime for one of its elements. — Also termed substantive crime; substantive felony.

summary offense.An offense (such as a petty misdemeanor) that can be prosecuted without

an indictment. Cf. indictable offense.

target offense.See object offense. unnatural offense.See SODOMY. unrelated offense.A crime that is independent from the charged offense.

violent offense.A crime characterized by extreme physical force, such as murder, forcible

rape, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. — Also termed violent felony.

2.Civil law. An intentional unlawful act that causes injury or loss to another and that gives rise to a claim for damages. La. Civ. Code art. 2315. • This sense of offense is essentially the same as the common-law intentional tort. [Cases: Torts 1. C.J.S. Torts §§ 2–7.]

quasi-offense.Civil law. A negligent unlawful act that causes injury or loss to another and that gives rise to a claim for damages. • This is equivalent to the common-law tort of negligence. — Also termed quasi-delict. [Cases: Torts 1. C.J.S. Torts §§ 2–7.]

3.Parliamentary law. A breach of order or other misconduct for which the applicable rules subject a member to a penalty.

[Blacks Law 8th]