Learning Objectives

As a result of reading this chapter, you will be able to:

1.  Explain how modern-day law evolved from English common law

2.  Describe the three sources of law in the US legal system

3.  Identify the differences between criminal and civil law

4.  Explain the difference between substantive and procedural law

5.  Review two critical elements of the criminal law-criminal intent (mens rea) and the physical commission of the criminal act (actus reus)

6.  Delineate the definitions of, and distinctions between, felonies and misdemeanors, crimes against persons and property, and the different degrees of homicide and sexual assault

7.  Discuss the various defenses that criminal defendants may offer to reduce or eliminate their criminal liability