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 U.S. 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. Describe how felonies and misdemeanors are placed into two separate broad categories
  7. Delineate the definitions of, and distinctions between, crimes against persons and property; the different degrees of homicide; and offenses classified as public order, white-collar, and organized crimes
  8. Explain the three primary methods for measuring crime and advantages and disadvantages of each