This title, difference between crime and offence, may appear
wrong or at least paradoxical to some of the readers. This is because of the
fact that most people believe crime and offence to have the same meaning to be
used interchangeably. Of course, there are great similarities between the two
concepts, but despite the overlapping there are subtle differences that will be
highlighted in this article.


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Every society has a system of written rules and regulations to
deal with people who deviate from normal, accepted behavior. People who violate
these rules are treated as criminals and punished according to the laws of the
land. Any act or behavior that harms others and society in general is a crime
and is dealt with accordingly.

Crime differs from social norms in the sense that there is no
legal standing of norms and a person violating them cannot be punished by law.
It is only when, he has committed a crime that violates a written law that a
person can be arrested and interrogated by law enforcing authorities and later
tried in a court of law. The court may give its verdict of prison sentence with
a financial penalty for the culprit if the accused is proved guilty.


If one looks up a dictionary, offence is defined as an act that
violates civil or criminal law. This violation is of such a nature that it
brings harm to the society and makes the culprit liable to serve a sentence in
prison with a possible financial penalty. Different countries of the world have
different judicial systems in place, and the definitions of the word offence
differ accordingly. The thing to remember is that an offence is punishable by
law only if is cognizable. This means that the offence must violate some penal
laws to be tried in a court of law. Unless the act or behavior finds no mention
in law, it is not an offence. Violation of a criminal law is, therefore, an
offence and it is offence that finds mention in law books as a definition, not

What is the difference
between Crime and Offence?

• Law makes no
difference in the words crime and offence and, in fact, terms violation of
penal laws as the definition of offence

• An act or behavior
that does not break a law is not an offence

• The word offense comes
from offender who is a person violating a law

• There are some
offences that are not cognizable or punishable by law

• However, a crime is
always a violation of law


Generally speaking, there are two
types of “offenses” that most US states recognize – crimes and infractions.  Crimes
are a matter of criminal law and usually punishable by either time in jail or a
fine or both; civil infractions are generally punishable only by fines or
administrative action (such as revocation of a driver’s license).  Thus, a
“criminal offense” would be the same as a “crime”, whereas
an “offense” might be either criminal or civil in nature.


What is the difference between a
crime and offence?


They are not different, they mean
the same thing. A crime is an act that breaks the law of a nation; a criminal
offence is an offence that is a crime, which breaks the law of a nation.




1. The term crime is generally used
for more serious criminal acts whereas less serious infringements are termed

2. Crime is the violation of law, means
a legal duty, whereas an act done against the state legislation’s term offence.

3. Offence is formally recognized
under the penal laws of the country. A crime is another term for an offence but
may not be formally defined.

4. Crime is a codified definition
of an act. Offense can relate to an act against norms/values. Nothing is an
offence if not provided in Law.

5. All crimes are certainly
offenses, but all offenses are not crimes.










The theories of Crimes/Objectives
of criminal law.


Deterrence is the use of punishment as a threat to
deter people from offending. Deterrence is often contrasted with retributivism, which holds that
punishment is a necessary consequence of a crime and should be calculated based
on the gravity of the wrong done.

The concept of deterrence has two key assumptions: the first is
that specific punishments imposed on offenders will “deter” or
prevent them from committing further crimes; the second is that fear of
punishment will prevent others from committing similar crimes.

2.     Retribution is at the heart of
just about all judicial systems that deal with law and order. To the extent that
punishment is supposed to fit the crime, retributive justice can be
distinguished from revenge in the sense that defendants are expected to give up
something in return for the offenses they committed. Retribution can be
considered a susceptible principle insofar as ranging in doctrines from “an eye
for an eye”.

3.    Incapacitation The term
“incapacitation” when used in the context of sentencing philosophy refers to
the effect of a sentence in terms of positively preventing the sentenced person
from committing future offenses. This concept is different from the theory of
specific deterrence in which an offender is punished to make him/her understand
the specific consequences of his/her offense. Incapacitation aims to prevent
future crimes by taking away the offender’s ability to commit offenses.

Pursuant to this theory, offenders are not rehabilitated.
Criminals are put in jail not to teach them the consequence of their actions
but to bring them under such an environment where they would not be able to
engage in crime. Imprisonment incapacitates the prisoner by physically removing
them from the society where they have committed the crime. Back-to-back life
sentences, three-strikes sentencing, and other habitual offender laws are all
examples of incapacitation.

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C.S §
3553, one of the purposes of criminal sentencing is to “protect the public
from further crimes of the defendant.” Incapacitation can be taken as a
measure to effectuate the purposes of this section.

incapacitates prisoners by physically removing them from the society against
which they are deemed to have offended or potentially may endanger. Long term
imprisonment with the intention to incapacitate is often used by criminal justice systems against habitual
criminals who recidivate (relapse). Therefore,
incapacitation focuses on removing the ability of the offenders to commit
future crimes by use of imprisonment rather than focusing on rehabilitation or

4.     Re-habilitation The term rehabilitation uses as Transformation
of conduct of the offenders. Especially this theory uses for the minors to
transform them to a better way. The Juvenile Justice System Ordinance 2001
(JJSO) is legislated in Pakistan is also present this theory to provide the way
for the minor criminals for betterment.

5.     Restoration This theory of crime is to restore the injured party by awarding special
compensation to the injured party or to pay the victim to restore the injury of
the victim.


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