The basic question is asked: "am I a criminal or will I become a criminal?" The answer though is much more complicated. As I will soon discuss, there are certain activities I engage in that are illegal, but does not make me a criminal. Many factors influence my decisions to engage in a particular activity or to refrain from doing a different activity. The factors influencing my decision are based in two categories: objective and subjective availability.
Regarding the first part of the topic question "am I a criminal?" depends on the definition of a criminal. The legal definition is "someone who has been convicted by a court of law." The drawback to this definition is that there are those individuals who are undetected, unreported, not arrested, not prosecuted, or found not guilty. I am one of those individuals who were never detected by law enforcements; I was never arrested nor was I ever prosecuted. Therefore, according to the legal definition, I am not a criminal. .
The second type of definition of a criminal is the offender definition. The offender definition states that a criminal is anyone who violates the law. According to the offender definition, I am a criminal because I have broken numerous laws including driving without a license, driving faster than the speed limit, engaging in underage drinking, smoking illegal substances and stealing from a restaurant. The major drawback to the criminal definition is that everyone has violated the law, so the seriousness and the amount of repetition need to be utilized to determine how much of a criminal an individual is. Thus, I do not consider myself a criminal because, as I will soon discuss, the seriousness was marginal and the repetition was not that constant. .
My future career as a possible criminal depends on how objective and subjective availability of crime. Both of these traits constitute the opportunity theory (which is a combination of Merton's Anomie theory and Sutherland's Differential Association theory.