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Criminal

A criminal is a person who has commited crimes. Criminals can be caught by the police, tried by the courts and if convicted receive punishment such as a term in prison or death.

Matters related to criminal behavior in society are studied in the field of sociology on the sub-field of criminology, and a person who studies this is called a criminologist. Psychological assessment of criminals is studied by psychologists.

The term "criminal" is sometimes used as a derogatory accusation of a person when viewing an act attributed to him/her as dangerous or destructive towards other people, or property. However, legally, in almost all jurisdictions, it is acceptable that a person is not guilty until convicted, thus may not be called a "criminal" until proven guilty.

See also law, crime, punishment, deterrence, prison, war criminal.

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