Law & Order: Introduction to Legal Studies

Course Overview

Units at a glance

We, as human beings, act in predictable ways most of the time: we follow laws, we make choices, and we go about our daily lives facing many problems and dilemmas. Yet, how do we make the best choices and what factors into our decisions? How do we decide what to do in the many choices that we face each day, like whether to cheat on an exam or whether to tell the salesperson that she gave us too much money back?

Laws govern our behavior, yet, where do they come from? Without some guideline for the creation of a new rule, how can there ever be a unified code of behavior? In this unit, we will examine the evolution of laws and how they can be challenged or upheld. In doing so, we’ll investigate what roles Congress, the courts, the President, and the average citizen play in the forming of laws. We’ll also find who has the final say and learn about landmark cases that affect the rights of high school students across the country.

Laws govern our behaviors, but we don’t always follow them. We may drive over the speed limit, take something that isn’t ours, or do damage to someone else’s property. When we don’t follow the laws in society, we are committing a crime. We may then come to the attention of the criminal justice system. Sometimes, though, we get in disputes with other individuals that don’t involve criminal activity. These disputes can be resolved through the civil court system. In this unit, you’ll learn about the steps within each system, the important people involved, and the ways in which cases are resolved.

The US criminal justice system has very clear rules that citizens need to follow. Individuals who choose to violate these rules are dealt with in specific ways. But what makes someone likely to commit a crime? What type of legal trouble would a person be in, and what will happen to them after they enter the system? In this unit, you will learn about some of the factors that may contribute to crime. You’ll learn what the purpose of the criminal justice system is and you will learn about the people involved.

Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we may be injured or harmed by something or someone in our society. These injuries may not be caused by criminal actions, so what recourse does that leave us? If the harm was caused because of someone else’s actions or products, we may be able to hold them responsible for their actions, especially if they violated tort laws. We’d do this by having a lawsuit and seeking damages. In this unit, you’ll learn about types of torts, how torts are handled in courts, and examples of different kinds of torts.

People like to buy things and by doing that, they contribute to the stability of the economy. But what is the economy and what makes it stable or instable? In this unit, you’ll learn what the economy is, the role consumers play in it, and their rights and responsibilities. We’ll discuss some of the major aspects of an economy and what protections exist for individuals. Finally, the unit includes information on contracts, warranties, buying automobiles, and using credit cards.

The family makes up the building blocks of any society, but much has been said about how families are changing in the new millennium. In this unit, you’ll learn about the legal and sociological definitions of family, what constitutes a marriage, cohabitation, how to end a relationship, and spousal abuse. You’ll also learn how the family is changing and why.

We all have rights as citizens of the United States of America, but what are they and where do they come from? This unit focuses on the rights of Americans, including the right to free speech, free press, and privacy. You’ll also learn about the history and the practical applications of these rights.

Course Highlights

Learn about the criminal justice system, including how trials are handled.
Explore the role that each person plays maintaining law and order in society.
Examine different types of laws and how they are handled in the criminal justice system.
Distinguish between civil and criminal courts and the consequences of each.

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