defines crimes, treats of their nature, and provides for their punishment. A tort is
a civil wrong committed against an individual; a
crime, on the other hand, is regarded as an offense committed against the public, even though only one individual may have been wronged.
The real distinction lies in the way a remedy for the wrong is pursued. A tort is a wrong for which the remedy is pursued by, and at the discretion of, the injured individual or his or her representative, while a crime is a wrong for which the wrongdoer is prosecuted by the state for the purpose of punishment. However, the fact that a particular act has been or may be prosecuted as a crime does not necessarily preclude an injured party from seeking recovery from the offender in a civil action. Classification of Crimes Crimes are usually classified as treason, felony, or misdemeanor. The fundamental distinction between felonies and misdemeanors rests with the penalty and the power of imprisonment. In general, a misdemeanor is an offense for which a punishment other than death or imprisonment in the state prison is prescribed by law. The term "degree of crime" refers to distinctions in the culpability of an offense because of the circumstances surrounding its commission. Crimes are sometimes divided according to their nature into crimes
in law, the violation of some duty clearly set by law, not by a specific agreement between two parties, as in breach of contract. When such a duty is breached, the injured party has the right to institute suit for compensatory damages. Certain torts, such as nuisance, may be suppressed by injunction. Many crimes are also torts; burglary, for instance, often constitutes trespass.
mala in se and crimes mala prohibita; the former class comprises those acts that are thought to be immoral or wrong in themselves, or naturally evil, such as murder, rape, arson, burglary, larceny, and the like; the latter class embraces those acts that are not naturally evil but are prohibited by statute because they infringe on the rights of others (e.g., acts in restraint of trade that have been made criminal under antitrust legislation).