What is the Source of Criminal Law?
The source of criminal law is the Constitution of the United States. Criminal law is a branch of public law that regulates the conduct of people in society. It establishes rules for what is and is not acceptable behavior, and it punishes people who violate those rules. The Constitution specifically delegates authority to Congress to enact criminal laws. The first federal criminal statute was enacted in 1790, and Congress has enacted hundreds of criminal statutes since then. Criminal law is also based on state law, because the states are responsible for regulating most aspects of daily life, including behavior that may violate federal criminal law.