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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

The American law system originated from the English common law, which was based on a cultural system of settling disputes. Explore the definition of law, origins of law, English common law, development of the American law system, and the United States Supreme Court.

Sources of Law in the American Legal System

2. Sources of Law in the American Legal System

In the American legal system, there are a few different sources of law that define which laws take priority over others. In this lesson, explore the sources of law, including the Constitution, statutes, regulations, and common law.

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

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

Criminal law refers to the system of laws that provide guidance for how to punish criminals. Explore the definition, purpose, and types of criminal law. Review parts of criminal law statutes, and examine cases to understand why criminal law is needed and how it is used.

Criminal Law vs. Civil Law: Definitions and Differences

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

Criminal law involves the government's prosecution of a defendant who is accused of a crime, while civil law involves a plaintiff's lawsuit against a defendant. Dive deeper into the definitions and differences of criminal and civil law, and learn important legal terminology such as cause of action, parties, burden of proof, and legal remedy.

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

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

The Criminal Division in the US Department of Justice is responsible for the enforcement of most federal criminal laws. Explore the history, role, and purpose of the Criminal Division, its sections and task forces, and the Division's notable cases.

What is a Statute? - Definition & Laws

6. What is a Statute? - Definition & Laws

A statute is a law decided upon and supported by federal or state legislature. Explore the definition and laws around statutes, learn how statutes interact with other laws, and discover the definition of case law and jurisdiction.

What Is the Rule of Law? - Definition & Principle

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

The rule of law states that no individual, government official, or government entity is free from consequence under the law, but that isn't all it dictates. Explore the rule of law and its many uses, and find an example of its application.

What Is the Model Penal Code?

8. What Is the Model Penal Code?

The Model Penal Code (MPC) works to standardize legislature penalizing criminal behavior. See how this operates through levels of culpability, and how the MPC is translated into specific laws between different states.

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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