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CRJU: Criminal Law Online

A course guide of open education resources for faculty teaching Criminal Law.

Overview and Objectives


This module will cover elements of a crime.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this module, students should know: 

  • Elements of crimes (actus reas, mens rea, concurrence, causation, harm)
  • Acts vs. omission to act
  • MPC Levels of intent (purpose, knowledge, recklessness, negligence)
  • General, specific, transferred intent
  • Vicarious liability and strict liability


Supplemental Readings and Lectures


Chapter 1: Introduction and 5 Basic Elements of Crimes Part 1 of 2.... 1. Actus Reus 2. Mens Rea 3. Concurrence 4. Causation 5. Resulting Injury or Crime

Defines and discusses MPC culpability terms of purposely, knowingly, recklessly and negligently.


Defining Criminal Behavior - Prosecutors must prove legality, actus reus, causation, harm, concurrence, mens rea, and punishment. Lawyer Melvin Belli explains why lawyers are still duty bound to represent clients, even if all seven issues may be proven. (from “American Law: How It Works.” Films On Demand, Films Media Group, 2004,