Criminal Justice & Law

Criminal Law

This course in Criminal Law focuses on how we as a society control unwanted behavior through the application of criminal laws. Primarily centered on substantive criminal law, students will explore the history of criminal laws that have led to today’s modern criminal codes, the philosophy and logic behind them as well as the methodology for proving guilt. The course will break down the various elements of a crime and show students how each element must be proven separately and collectively in order to ensure a proper conviction. Further, students will understand the basic theories of crime and punishment and criminal culpability as contrasted with civil wrongs as well as other key concepts that make up the criminal laws that protect us as a society and as individuals. Students will also be introduce to various affirmative defenses that create even more complexity in the criminal codes but are necessary to the fair and even application of the law.

This course is meant to provide students with a general overview of criminal law, its application, complexities and controversies. The course objective is to provide students with an historical understanding of criminal law, an overview of general legal principles, including possible defense to a criminal charge, and an awareness of the fundamental nature of law.

Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Define terms related to criminal law
  • Examine the purpose and function of criminal law
  • Assess legal issues as presented in court cases
  • Analyze key concepts related to criminal law
  • Examine various laws


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