What Are Some Common Law Crimes in the United States?

Some of the common law crimes in the United States include theft, drug possession and battery. Common law, also known as case law, is one of the sources of law developed by preceding ruling judges, states FindLaw.

Theft is the unauthorized taking of property without the intention of giving it back, and it is an offense developed through the common law. As a crime, theft has gradually transformed to become a catch-all term for all kinds of common-law property crimes. In the past, larceny was considered as common theft separate from property crimes such as robbery, embezzlement and use of false pretenses to acquire property, according to LegalMatch.com.

Drug possession occurs when the law officers find an accused person in possession of an illegal drug. In such a case, the prosecution chooses to rely on the common law definition of possession. To substantiate a crime, the prosecutor must prove the following two elements beyond reasonable doubt: the substance in question is an illegal drug and the accused person was found in possession of the substance, according to CriminalDefenseLawyer.com.

Battery is contacting another person in an offensive or harmful manner. The common law considers a battery as a minor wrongdoing. The prosecutor must prove that unlawful application of force to a particular person resulted in bodily injury.