In this chapter students learned about law in the United Statesthe
principles of the legal system, the various types of civil
law, and the types of criminal law. In this activity they
will take a closer look at criminal law and the criminal justice
Students will visit the Lawyers.com Web site's feature on
criminal law. They will learn about different types of crimes,
the justice process, and the rights of citizens accused of
crimes. They will answer four questions pertaining to what
they have read and will then write a newspaper editorial commenting
on crime in the United States today.
- Students will be able to distinguish among different types
- Students will be able to summarize the steps followed
in the criminal justice process.
Student Web Activity Answers
Go to Student Web Activity
- The two main categories are felonies and misdemeanors.
Felonies are crimes punishable by more than one year's imprisonment;
misdemeanors are crimes punishable by less than one year's
imprisonment. Persons accused of a felony automatically
have the right to a jury trial, while those accused of misdemeanors
have this right only if the crime is considered serious
enough to warrant a jury trial.
- investigation; search warrant; interrogation; arrest;
complaint, information, or indictment; arraignment; bail;
plea negotiations; trial; verdict; appeal
- The United States Sentencing Guidelines outline factors federal courts must consider when deciding sentences. Some of the factors are the amount of loss to victims, whether a weapon was used in the crime, and the age or vulnerability of the victims of the crime. A person's prior criminal history is also considered.
- A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor
and the accused person under which the accused person agrees
to plead guilty to a crime in exchange for a negotiated
sentence. A plea bargain may occur before or even during
- Students' editorials will vary.