Common Crimes Defined

  • Criminal Justice
  • March 11, 2024
  • 4 min read

Most people are widely aware of what common criminal justice terms mean, such as assault or embezzlement, but many people are unaware of the exact details of the crime in question.

In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the more common crimes and what exactly they mean.

Know More: What is financial crime?

Defining Common Crimes


Assault is both one of the most widely known crimes and one of the most commonly misused legal terms. An assault is the act of inflicting physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action.

It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in criminal prosecution, civil liability, or both. Generally, the common law definition is the same in criminal and tort law. Assault is often confused with Battery and Criminal Threats.


Battery is the intentional and offensive or harmful contact with another person.

The exact definition varies by jurisdiction. In criminal law, the elements of battery are physical contact that causes harm or offensive contact without that person’s consent. Battery is often confused with assault which is threatening battery. 

Battery is when the threat (assault) is carried out and the person is harmed in some way. Criminal battery and civil battery may be the same or differ slightly depending on the jurisdiction. In many cases, the act of battery can result in both criminal and civil liability.

Criminal Threats

Criminal threatening is the crime of intentionally or knowingly putting another person in fear of bodily injury. A terroristic threat is a crime generally involving a threat to commit violence communicated with the intent to terrorize others.

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Intimidation is a criminal offense in several U.S. states and is defined as intentional behavior that “would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities” to fear injury or harm. It is not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause mean terror or that the victim was actually frightened.


Embezzlement is the act of withholding assets for the purpose of conversion of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. 

Embezzlement is a type of financial fraud and is usually is a premeditated crime, performed methodically, with precautions that conceal the criminal conversion of the property, which occurs without the knowledge or consent of the affected person. 


is a crime involving the unlawful taking or theft of the personal property of another person or business. It was an offense under the common law of England and became an offense in jurisdictions that incorporated the common law of England into their own law, like the United States.

Larceny is now codified as a statutory crime in all U.S. jurisdictions. Under many states’ larceny statutes, including California, larceny can include the taking of “money, labor, or real or personal property.

Qualifying For Your Future

Gaining a qualification from our Criminal Justice School puts you in an excellent position to access a variety of employment opportunities as you look for one that suits your skills and interests. 

At Northwest Career College, our Criminal Justice instructors include licensed, practicing attorneys and degree instructors able to teach, not only the law but also to guide our students in the many ways a criminal justice graduate integrates into a Las Vegas legal profession.

As part of our Criminal Justice Program, you’ll visit courts, jails, meditation centers, and more to experience first-hand the law in action, which will make your criminal justice training applicable to the Las Vegas legal system. 

Northwest offers a flexible blended program with all criminal justice classes Las Vegas law classes taught on campus by an attorney and general education courses offered online. Our experienced instructors are on-campus to review and support your learning experience at all times. 

Call us at (702) 403-1592 to speak to one of our enrollment team about joining our Criminal Justice Program today!

Lisa Myers
General Education Department Director

Beginning her career as a Paralegal, Lisa soon advanced to the role of Senior Paralegal for various Family Law, Personal Injury and Corporate law firms in the Las Vegas community. She obtained her Juris Doctor and LL.M, completing her fellowship…Read Full Bio