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Welcome to Criminal Law

This course covers the law of crimes and the criminal justice system, including the criminal act and the mental element in crime, consideration of specific offenses as defined by statute and the common law, and discussion of typical defenses.


Welcome to Criminal Law! Designed for first-year law students, this course features 22 lesson videos and 209 practice questions. It surveys basic American criminal law, under both the common law and the Model Penal Code (MPC). 

I. Fundamental Elements of Crime

The first chapter breaks down the fundamental elements of any crime: actus reus (the criminal act), mens rea (the culpable mental state ), and causation. Here’s where we’ll lay a general foundation to help you understand the specific crimes that we’ll discuss in later lessons. 

II Homicide

The second chapter is all about homicide—when people kill people. Here, we’ll talk about murder (a perennial favorite among law professors and bar examiners), manslaughter, and the deceptively complex topic of felony murder. 

III. Inchoate Crimes

The third chapter tackles inchoate, or incomplete, crimes. Here, you’ll learn about attempt, solicitation, and conspiracy. 

IV. Justification and Excuse

Chapter four, dealing with justification and excuse, could be termed the mercy chapter. Here, you’ll learn about the doctrines that may absolve a defendant who is otherwise guilty as sin. The specific defenses we’ll cover are: self-defense, defense of others, defense of property, duress, and insanity. 

V Other Crimes

Finally, chapter five explains several crimes, falling under the general headings of rape and theft. Specifically, we’ll study rape under the common law and MPC, larceny, embezzlement, and theft by false pretenses. 

If you watch all our videos and take all our quizzes and exams, you’ll be positioned to do handsomely well on your criminal law exam. Let’s get started.