Online sessions begin June 24, 2024. ENROLL NOW! Call 1-800-522-7737, email [email protected] or click here to contact us.

Online sessions begin June 24, 2024. ENROLL NOW! Call 1-800-522-7737, email [email protected] or click here to contact us.

About This Course

The course begins with an overview of the concept of punishment and goes on to study the burden of proof and criminal defenses; it also provides a critical look at the most common crimes. Students will learn common terminology in criminal law and how to consider a crime thoroughly in terms of its elements.

Course Objectives:

Participants will demonstrate the following skills through successful completion of all required coursework and assignments:

  • Explain the concept of punishment.
  • Define the concepts of mens rea and actus rea
  • Explain what is meant by “reasonable doubt”.
  • Differentiate “inference,” “mandatory presumption requiring some evidence in rebuttal,” “mandatory presumption shifting the burden of proof,” and “conclusive presumption”
  • Discuss some of the limitations of criminal law.
  • List the elements of the insanity defense.
  • Discuss the defenses of infancy, intoxication, duress, necessity, entrapment, and excessive government involvement.
  • Explain the elements of self-defense and related defenses.
  • Explain the concept of “attempt”.
  • Examine the scope of one’s accountability for the criminal acts of others.
  • Discuss the crime of conspiracy.
  • Discuss how criminal law applies to corporations.
  • Explain know the elements of the crime of homicide.
  • Examine the concept of causation in criminal law.
  • List the elements of the crime of rape.
  • List the elements of the crimes of battery, assault, aggravated assault and battery, mayhem, and kidnapping.
  • List the elements of the crime of larceny.
  • Explain the types of larceny.
  • Discuss the elements of the crime of obtaining property by false pretenses.
  • Explain the elements of the crimes of forgery, receiving stolen goods, robbery, extortion, burglary, and arson.


This is an accelerated course. Students will be expected to spend an average of 8 hours per week reading and completing writing assignments. Please note that extensions will not be granted for this online course. 70% is the minimum passing score on all tests and assignments for this course. Students may consider working ahead in the curriculum if they have the time. Coursework in Criminal Law is equivalent to 45 clock hours of study.


Successful completion of Paralegal I and II, or equivalent experience.

Course Books

Required textbooks for this course:

  • Criminal Law in a Nutshell, most recent edition. St Paul: West Group by Arnold H. Loewy.

Highly Recommended Legal Resources:

  • Oran’s Dictionary of the Law, 4th Edition, by Daniel Oran. Clifton Park: Delmar Cengage Learning
  • WESTLAW, legal research access, available for the duration of the course for only $89. Order Online Now

For more information, call CLS by BARBRI at 800-522-7737, or visit our Online Store to order.

Reading Assignments for Lesson Topics:

Lesson One: General Principals and Terminology

  • Read the Preface, the Perspective, and Chapters 1, 8 & 9 in Criminal Law in a Nutshell (Nutshell)

Lesson Two: The Burden of Proof and Limitations of Criminal Law

  • Read Chapters 12, 13 & 18 in Nutshell

Lesson Three: Defenses

  • Read Chapters 10, 11 & 6 in Nutshell

Lesson Four: Inchoate Crimes

  • Read Chapters 14, 15, 16, & 17 in Nutshell

Lesson Five: Crimes against the Person

  • Read Chapters 2, 3, 4 & 5 in Nutshell

Lesson Six: Crimes against Property

  • Read Chapter 7 in Nutshell

Writing Assignments:

For each lesson you will submit a 50-point short answer/essay assignment covering the topics in that lesson’s reading.


You will complete two exams. Each is worth 100 points. The Mid-term exam is to be submitted with your Lesson Three Assignments; the Final exam is to be submitted with your Lesson Six Assignments.

Bulletin Board Assignments:

You will also post your responses to three class participation assignments each worth 20 points. These assignments are referred to as Bulletin Board Submissions.

All lesson objectives, assignments, and tests can be found in the Lesson Materials.


Your grade will be based on your completion of six writing assignment assignments, two exams, and class participation/Bulletin Board Submissions. The exams and writing assignments can be accessed from within the lesson material, or by selecting ‘Assignments’ under Activities on the Right Side Bar in the course. You will have the opportunity to engage in “class participation” by using the Bulletin Board tool to respond to the bulletin board assignments throughout the course. Also, participating in the bulletin board assignments will enhance your understanding of the reading material.

Your final grade will be figured as follows:

  • The six writing assignments comprise 40% of your grade.
  • The two exams comprise 40% of your grade.
  • Your participation in class participation assignments comprises 20% of your grade.

Withdrawal Policy

Students may drop the course with a full tuition refund less a non-refundable $50 administrative fee if written notice is sent to CLS by BARBRI by email at [email protected] by the Wednesday before class begins. Students may drop the course with a 50% tuition refund if written notice is sent to CLS by BARBRI by email at [email protected] anytime from the Thursday before the course begins until the first Thursday of class. After the first Thursday of class, no refunds will be issued.

Please NOTE: If you registered for a CLS course directly with the college or university, you are subject to the school’s refund/drop policies.