Fundamentals of Criminal Law

CRIJ 1310

Updated August 30, 2011

  • State Approval Code: 2201015300
  • Semester Credit Hours: 3
  • Lecture Hours per Week: 3
  • Contact Hours per Semester: 48

Catalog Description

Study of criminal law, its philosophical and historical development, major definitions and concepts, classifications and elements of crime, penalties using Texas statutes as illustrations, and criminal responsibility.

Course Curriculum

Basic Intellectual Compentencies in the Core Curriculum

  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Critical thinking

Perspectives in the Core Curriculum

  • Establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he/she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diversified world.
  • Stimulate a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic, and social aspects of life in order to understand ways in which to be a responsible member of society.
  • Develop personal values for ethical behavior.
  • Develop the ability to make aesthetic judgments.
  • Use logical reasoning in problem solving.

Core Components and Related Exemplary Educational Objectives

Communication (composition, speech, modern language)

  • To participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.
  • To understand and apply basic principles of proficiency in the development of exposition and argument.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

  • To examine social institutions and processes across a range of historical periods, social structures, and cultures.
  • To use and critique alternative explanatory systems or theories.
  • To develop and communicate alternative explanations or solutions for contemporary social issues.
  • To analyze the effects of historical, social, political, economic, cultural, and global forces on the area under study.
  • To analyze, critically assess, and develop creative solutions to public policy problems.
  • To recognize and assume one's responsibility as a citizen in a democratic society by learning to think for oneself, by engaging in public discourse, and by obtaining information through the news 4 media and other appropriate information sources about politics and public policy.

Instructional Goals and Purposes

Panola College's instructional goals include 1) creating an academic atmosphere in which students may develop their intellects and skills and 2) providing courses so students may receive a certificate/an associate degree or transfer to a senior institution that offers baccalaureate degrees.

General Course Objectives

1. Explain the historical and philosophical development of the nature of criminal law
2. List the elements of crimes using the Texas statutes as an illustration
3. Discuss criminal responsibilities as they apply to the criminal statutes.

Specific Course Objectives

1. Identify and define the nature of criminal law (interprets and communicates information)
2. Define and discuss the philosophical and historical development of criminal law (listens, speaks)
3. Identify, define, and discuss major definitions and concepts in criminal law (reading, listening and speaking)
4. Explain and interpret the classification of crime (interprets and communicates information)
5. Identify and explain the elements of crimes and penalties. (reading, writing, listening and speaking)
6. Define and explain criminal responsibility. (interprets and communicates information)

General Description of Each Lecture or Discussion

See General Course Objectives

Methods of Instruction/Course Format/Delivery

The course is predominately lecture on theory and practice within the varying aspects of a Criminal Justice career field and the study of Texas Criminal Case law.


Students will be graded on three major written objective tests for the majority of their
grade. A subjective portion will be derived from class participation, class attendance, and preparedness for the class material.
Your grade will be determined from:
1. Three written objective test counting for 20% each (60% total)
2. An objective final exam worth 20%
3. Class participation and attendance graded subjectively for 20%

Text, Required Readings, Materials, and Supplies

1. Criminal Law, 9th Edition/Wadsworth
2. Texas Criminal and Traffic Law Manual/LexisNexis

Helpful Links