United States Code | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction / Criminal Law

The U.S. Code is a collection of all the laws passed by the Congress of the United States, organized by subject.

The United States Code (USC) is the official compilation of federal laws in the United States. It contains the general and permanent laws enacted by Congress, as well as any amendments to those laws that have been passed by subsequent Congresses. The USC is divided into 50 titles, each of which represents a broad area subject to federal regulation.

The USC is designed to provide a clear and comprehensive overview of federal law in the United States. It is organized in a hierarchical structure, with titles, chapters, and sections. Each title covers a particular area of law, such as taxation, national parks, or education. Each chapter within a title covers a more specific topic within that area of law, and each section within a chapter provides detailed information on a particular aspect of the topic.

The Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the U.S. House of Representatives is responsible for preparing and publishing the USC. This office is responsible for ensuring that the USC is accurate, up-to-date, and easy to understand. They work closely with members of Congress and other legal experts to ensure that the USC is reflective of current federal law and that it is organized in a logical and user-friendly way.

The USC is updated regularly to reflect changes in the law. New laws are added, and existing laws are amended or repealed as necessary. These changes are reflected in the USC as soon as possible after they are enacted in order to ensure that the USC remains a reliable and comprehensive source of federal law for legal professionals, policymakers, and the general public.

One important aspect of the USC is the criminal code, which is contained within Title 18. This title includes laws related to crimes and criminal procedures, such as homicide, assault, robbery, and fraud. It also includes provisions related to sentencing, incarceration, and probation.

The criminal code is a critical component of federal law in the United States, as it provides the legal framework for addressing criminal behavior and ensuring public safety. It sets out the elements of various crimes, defines the penalties for those crimes, and establishes procedures for investigating and prosecuting criminal cases. The criminal code also provides important protections for individuals who are accused of crimes, such as the right to a fair trial and the presumption of innocence.

In addition to the criminal code, other titles within the USC also include provisions related to criminal law and law enforcement. For example, Title 21 covers drug offenses, and Title 26 covers tax offenses. These titles provide additional legal authority for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and help to ensure that the full range of criminal behavior is covered under federal law.

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Last Modified: 04/26/2023

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