In a logical world, one specific act, event, or situation will always lead to a particular consequence or result. However, in the real world, things aren’t so straightforward. You have to know that on many occasions, criminal behavior has variable punishments depending on a lot of different contexts.
There are lots of examples to illustrate this. For example, certain types of criminal behavior have different punishments depending on if they are prosecuted at the local, state, or federal level. Also, in situations where there is self-defense involved, there may be variable punishments meted out. Judges and juries will also look to historical facts about a case or person to decide how they suggest that a person should be punished for a specific type of crime.
Crimes at a federal level carry very different punishments than the crime at the state or local levels. For example, if you commit a crime that moves over state lines, this automatically puts you in federal jurisdiction. Recognizing this, federal prosecutors take a very different view of criminals in this category. Also, when you commit a federal crime, you could end up in federal prison as opposed to a local or state jail.
Once you are generally aware of what kind of federal crimes you can get in trouble for, you should also know what kind of local crimes can become an issue. For example, even small communities can have their own enforceable laws. It could be something as simple as how often you have to mow your lawn or what hours your dog can be outside. If you run across community rules, regulations, or laws that you don’t abide by, local authorities do have the option of getting you in trouble for it.
Situations can be different when self-defense is involved as well. For example, there are stand your ground laws that have a lot open to interpretation. If someone feels threatened, the same rules may not apply to if they take action to make themselves feel safe again. Stand your ground laws often run contrary to other rules and regulations, so it is often up to a judge and a jury to interpret how everything should pan out in the end.
In the end, it’s essential to recognize that criminal punishment is not automatic. There are all sorts of variables and pieces of context that can enter into the equation. If you think you have seen someone get an appropriate punishment before and you assume that that will happen again to you or someone that you know, then you should recognize that assumption is based on a false premise.