When individuals engage in certain behaviors, they can reasonably expect that they will face legal consequences if they are caught. For example, most Americans understand that robbery, murder, rape and other straightforward criminal acts are illegal. However, other behaviors are treated in potentially unexpected ways by the nuanced criminal justice system. Even some acts that could be considered violent crime are illegal in some states while they are not considered to be illegal in others.
For example, one could understandably assume that abusing anyone could be considered a criminal act. However, the act of abuse has become an increasingly complex issue over the past several years. One can abuse another over the Internet by engaging in cyberbullying, though states do not deal with this issue uniformly. And while child abuse is widely illegal, abuse of parents by their children is treated differently in different jurisdictions.