Criminal Law – cja343 (3 credits)

This is an introductory course in the study of criminal law, general legal principles, and how the criminal law functions in and affects modern society. This course highlights a variety of key topics, including the concept of crime and the development of criminal law, defenses to criminal charges, and a number of specific types of crimes, including personal crimes, property crimes, public order crimes, and offenses against public morality. Legal issues affecting punishment will also be discussed, as will ways the criminal law impacts victims of crime.

This undergraduate-level course is 5 weeks. This course is available as part of a degree or certificate program. To enroll, speak with an Enrollment Representative.

Criminal Law, the Concept of Crime, and Criminal Liability

  • Explain jurisdiction to create and enforce criminal law.
  • Discuss the adversarial system and standards of proof in criminal cases.
  • Discuss the concept of criminal liability.
  • Define accomplice liability.
  • Define inchoate offenses: Solicitation, conspiracy and attempt.
  • Analyze essential elements of selected criminal offenses.
  • Explore the sources and purposes of criminal law.

Criminal Responsibility and Defenses

  • Explain the nature of and types of defenses to criminal liability.
  • Distinguish justification from excuse.
  • Explore the concept of criminal capacity.
  • Discuss the differences between legal and medical perspectives on mental illness and insanity.

Personal, Property, and Computer Crimes

  • Distinguish Assault, Battery, and Mayhem.
  • Explain the differences between Rape and Statutory Rape.
  • Define Kidnapping and False Imprisonment.
  • Differentiate Robbery, Burglary, and Theft.
  • Explore computer and high-technology crimes.
  • Define the different types of homicide.

Public Order Crimes

  • Define crimes against public order.
  • Define DWI crimes.
  • Identify crimes against the administration of government.
  • Discuss prostitution, obscenity and lewdness.
  • Analyze federal and state anti-drug legislation and asset forfeiture.

Crime Victims and Crime Punishment

  • Understand the concept of “victim”.


  • Explain victims’ assistance programs.
  • Define plea bargaining and intermediate sanctions.
  • Analyze forms of sentencing and their rationale.
  • Discuss the Eighth Amendment and its relationship to capital punishment.
  • Evaluate “Problem Solving Courts” and restorative justice.

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