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Pertaining to, or involving, crimes or the administration of penal justice. An individual who has been found guilty of the commission of conduct that causes social harm and that is punishable by law; a person who has committed a crime.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1) n. a popular term for anyone who has committed a crime, whether convicted of the offense or not. More properly it should apply only to those actually convicted of a crime. Repeat offenders are sometimes called habitual criminals. 2) adj. certain acts or people involved in or relating to a crime. Examples of uses include "criminal taking," "criminal conspiracy," a "criminal gang." (See: convict, felon, habitual criminal)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.


1 a person convicted of CRIME.
2 of, involving, or guilty of CRIME.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CRIMINAL. Relating to, or having the character of crime; as, criminal law, criminal conversation, &c. It also signifies a person convicted of a crime.

LAW, CRIMINAL. By criminal law is understood that system of laws which provides for the mode of trial of persons charged with criminal offences, defines crimes, and provides for their punishments.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
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