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  • Concepts of Criminal Law
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This course offers an analysis of the doctrines of criminal liability in the United States and the classification of crimes against persons, property, morals, and public welfare. Special emphasis is placed on the classification of crime, the general elements of crime, the definitions of common and statutory law, and the nature of acceptable evidence. This course utilizes case law and case studies to introduce students to criminal law. The completion of this course offers a foundation upon which upper-division criminal justice course will build. The course will also include some limited discussion of prosecution and defense decision making, criminal culpability, and defenses to crimes.

Introduction to Criminal Justice


Successful completion of the freshman writing requirement.

  1. Historical Background of Criminal Law
  2. Fundamentals of the Adversarial System
  3. Criminal Law Classifications
  4. Offenses Against Persons, Property, Morals, and Public Welfare
  5. Criminal Defenses and Justifications

At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Discuss the goals and characteristics of criminal law;
  2. Explain the adversary system and sources of criminal law;
  3. Discuss the philosophical and historical evolution of criminal law, noting the role of the judiciary in its development;
  4. Know the basic terminology, definitions, and theories of criminal law;
  5. Identify elements of offenses against the person, property, morals, and public welfare;
  6. Classify crimes according to severity;
  7. Explain the concept of lesser included offenses;
  8. Explain capacity to commit crime, causation, and culpability;
  9. Critically analyze various components of our system of criminal law;
  10. Explain and discuss criminal defenses, legal justifications, and burdens of proof.

Objective and subjective examinations/quizzes

Case analysis


Homework assignments

In class exercises/presentations

Criminal Law Today by Frank Schmalleger, 2015, Pearson-Prentice Hall, 5th Ed.

California Criminal Law Concepts, Hunt & Rutledge, Pearson Learning, 2015 Ed.

Criminal Law for the Criminal Justice Professional, Garland, 2012, McGraw-Hill, 3rd Ed.

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