Laws are formal  standardized norms that have been enacted by legislatures and are enforced by formal sanctions. Laws may be either civil or criminal. Civil law deals with disputes among persons or groups. Persons who lose civil suits may encounter negative snnctions such as having to pay cornpensation to the other party or being ordered to stop certain conduct. Crimina/law, on the other hand, deals with public safety and well-being. When criminal laws are violated, fines and prison sentences are the most likely negative sanctions. although in some states the death penalty is handed down for certain major offenses.