A crime is an unlawful socially dangerous act that has all the signs of an offense and a specific composition. Categories of crimes are a relatively new phenomenon for Russia; the 1996 Criminal Code became a pioneer in this regard.
The concept of "categories of crime" is disclosed by Article 15 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. There are four types of criminal acts: especially grave, grave, moderate and minor crimes. The grounds for such a division are the degree of public danger of a particular act and its nature. The degree of public danger consists of two factors: the type and significance of the object of the crime. Auxiliary criteria for dividing crimes into categories according to the degree of severity are: the type and possible term of punishment, as well as the form of guilt of the subject of the crime committed.
The hallmark of three categories out of four is the possibility of committing them through negligence. These are small, medium and serious crimes. Particularly grave crimes a priori can be committed only if there is intent. Intention is the attitude of the subject of a crime to the act he is committing, i.e. awareness by the guilty person that his actions (or inaction) pose a certain public danger. Intention can be direct or indirect.
The Criminal Code recognizes as a crime of small gravity such an act that can be both intentional and careless, but the term of punishment for which does not exceed two years in prison. These are such crimes: beatings (Article 116), intentional infliction of minor harm to health (Part 2 of Article 115), theft (Part 1 of Article 158).
A crime of average gravity is socially dangerous unlawful behavior, the maximum sentence for which is imprisonment for no more than five years. This is a murder committed in a state of passion (part 2 of article 107), driving to suicide (article 110), substitution of a child (article 153 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
The term of punishment for committing a grave crime should not exceed ten years of being in prison (part 2 of article 131 - rape, part 1 of article 164 - theft of items of particular value).
A particularly grave crime may be punished with life imprisonment. As an example of such compositions, the following can be cited: Art. 105 - murder, part 2 of Art. 205 - terrorist act.