In general, there are many different kinds of crimes that the criminal justice system deals with on a regular basis. These crimes can be divided into different categories depending on the characteristics of the crime itself. For example, some criminal actions can be classified as violent or non-violent crimes, hate crimes, or even property crimes. Two such categories that are used to differentiate between criminal activities are known as natural crime and legal crime. While the two categories, and the crimes within them, have differences between them, some similarities can also be found.
A natural crime is any action that is considered morally or ethically wrong, although the action may not be legally prohibited. Natural crimes are actions that violate natural law, which is defined as ÃÂÃÂfully specific moral norms which require or forbid (sometimes with, sometimes without exceptions) certain specific possible choicesÃÂÃÂ (George, 1999). Natural crimes can also be defined using the term mala in se, meaning ÃÂÃÂoffenses which are wrong such from their own nature, at common law, irrespective of statuteÃÂÃÂ (Mala in se, n.d.).
For example, the malicious murder of another human being is an action that is seen as a natural crime because it violates globally accepted moral standards.
On the other hand, a legal crime is any action that violates a law or statute of society. In contrast to natural crimes, legal crimes are actions that violate positive law, defined as ÃÂÃÂenacted law -- the codes, statutes, and regulations that are applied and enforced in the courtsÃÂÃÂ (Black, 1999). The term mala prohibita, defined as ÃÂÃÂoffenses prohibited by statuteÃÂÃÂ, can be used in place of legal crimes (Mala prohibita, n.d). Legal crimes are basically actions that the legislative faction of society would like to control. For example, carrying a concealed weapon is not morally wrong.