Ch 1: Criminal Law: Purposes, Scope & Sources

About This Chapter

If you need to review the basics of criminal law for an exam or assignment, check out this convenient and self-paced criminal justice chapter. Inside, you'll find engaging lessons and mini quizzes that can be accessed at any time.

Criminal Law: Purposes, Scope & Sources - Chapter Summary

This self-paced chapter outlines the sources, scope and purposes of criminal law. After reviewing the history and sources of American law, you can differentiate between types of criminal law and see define related legal terminology. You can complete the chapter at your own pace, and it's accessible on any computer or mobile device. When you're finished with these short and simple lessons, take the accompanying self-assessment quizzes to remember what you study. By the end of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Explain the origins of American law from English common law
  • Identify the American legal system's sources of law
  • Assess the purpose of different criminal law types
  • Differentiate between civil law and criminal law
  • Evaluate the role and purpose of the U.S. Department of Justice's criminal division
  • Understand statutes, the rule of law and the model penal code

8 Lessons in Chapter 1: Criminal Law: Purposes, Scope & Sources
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
American Law: History & Origins from English Common Law

1. American Law: History & Origins from English Common Law

Our modern American law system is based on centuries of English principles regarding right and wrong. This English common law system combines with U.S. case decisions and statutes to form what we know as law. This lesson examines the origins and definitions associated with the American law system.

Sources of Law in the American Legal System

2. Sources of Law in the American Legal System

The rules that govern society come from a number of places. This lesson will cover the sources of law in the American legal system. A short quiz will follow the lesson to check your understanding.

What is Criminal Law? - Definition, Purpose, Types & Cases

3. What is Criminal Law? - Definition, Purpose, Types & Cases

In this lesson, learn what constitutes criminal law, examine the types of criminal law, and review significant criminal cases to gain an understanding of criminal law in the United States today.

Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences

4. Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences

There are two main classifications of law. Criminal laws regulate crimes, or wrongs committed against the government. Civil laws regulate disputes between private parties. This lesson explains the main differences between criminal and civil law.

The U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division: History, Role & Purpose

5. The U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division: History, Role & Purpose

The United States Department of Justice Criminal Division develops and enforces all federal criminal laws, except those designated to another division. This lesson explains the roles and history of the Criminal Division.

What is a Statute? - Definition & Laws

6. What is a Statute? - Definition & Laws

What is a statute? Where does a statute come from, and how does it intersect with other types of laws, such as constitutions and case law? Find out the basics about statutes in this lesson.

What Is the Rule of Law? - Definition & Principle

7. What Is the Rule of Law? - Definition & Principle

Rule of law takes on several meanings. On one hand, it means that no person or government is above the law. In another, it means that no government or its officials can enforce laws that are unfair or unjust.

What Is the Model Penal Code?

8. What Is the Model Penal Code?

The Model Penal Code (MPC) was established to offer a standard and universal text to help define criminal activity and determine what the punishment for that activity should be.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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