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Course level: Undergraduate
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.
- CJS/201 – Introduction to Criminal Justice or equivalent
What you'll learn
Course skills and outcomes
- Identify the sources, purposes, and jurisdiction of criminal law.
- Describe the adversarial system and the concept of criminal liability.
- Define accomplice liability and inchoate offenses.
- Describe the elements of crime: actus reus, mens rea, and concurrence.
- Explain the nature of and types of defenses to criminal charges.
- Compare justification and excuse.
- Assess the legal aspects of competency to stand trial.
- Investigate the determination of insanity in the criminal law.
- Define different types of homicide and the meaning of corpus delicti.
- Distinguish between assault, battery, and sex crimes.
- Distinguish between kidnapping and false imprisonment and robbery, burglary, and theft.
- Describe computer and high-technology crimes.
- Identify crimes against public order.
- Identify crimes related to drugs and alcohol.
- Explain asset forfeiture as it relates to federal and state anti-drug legislation
- Analyze the resources related to victim advocacy and witness support.
- Evaluate the goals of sentencing and alternative sanctions.
- Define plea bargaining and intermediate sanctions.
- Describe the Eighth Amendment and its relationship to capital punishment.