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Criminal Law: Home

Have a Criminal Law question? This guide has answers.

Getting Started

Criminal law is a blend of constitutional, statutory, and case law. Sometimes there are also regulations that might affect your situation. Whether you are researching local, state, or federal criminal law, you should:

  1. Identify your jurisdiction
  2. Use a secondary source like a treatise to find the relevant law in your jurisdiction.
  3. Use an annotated version of the appropriate statutory code to read the relevant section. Look for any notes or secondary sources mentioned.
  4. Use a citator (KeyCite or Shepard's) to update and verify your research.
  5. Use a secondary source for forms to help draft appropriate pleadings, motions, responsive filings, etc.
  6. Keep up-to-date on changes to the law by reading Current Awareness sources and re-checking citators before you argue a point before a court. 

Treatises and Summaries

WEX is a collaboratively-edited and professionally-reviewed legal dictionary and encyclopedia produced by the Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School.

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