Criminal Justice Classes Online
Criminal Justice Classes Online
Criminal Justice classes online provide an excellent means by which paralegals can either gain the knowledge needed to specialize in criminal litigation, or make a career move into another branch of legal work. Paralegals who are interested in working with criminal defense attorneys or for the offices of a district attorney, should have an excellent background in criminal law.
There are many types of courses, degree programs and certificates in criminal justice available online. These programs offer a wide variety of classes in order to accommodate those who wish to work as police officers, forensic technicians, corrections or parole officers, homeland security officers, or staff support in sheriff’s offices to name a few. Because of the large number of class offerings, paralegals wishing to specialize in criminal law need to select their courses carefully in order to gain the best knowledge base for this area of legal work.
Duties performed by a paralegal with a criminal specialty may include interviewing witnesses and assisting with depositions, dealing with and tracking discovery documents and briefs, drafting and filing motions and pleadings with the court, doing research and background checks, assisting the attorney at trials and hearings, and assisting with all work related to the preparation of an appeal.
Paralegals specializing in criminal law will need to be familiar with ethical and judicial issues, trial procedures, the rights of the accused, the collection and rules of evidence, arrest and booking procedures, bail and bond procedures, criminal investigation procedures, and issues related to youthful offenders.
Core courses to consider when taking Criminal Justice classes online include:
- An overview or introductory criminal justice course
- A course dealing with the ethics and history of the judicial system
- A course on corrections and parole
- A course on criminal procedures
- A course on forensics or criminal investigation
- A course on the basics of policing and law enforcement
- A course in police interrogation/interviewing techniques
- A course on reporting and recording in law enforcement
Even within the specialty of criminal justice, a paralegal can do a further concentration in a particular area such as homeland security, gangs and juvenile crime, computer or cyber crime, aviation security, drugs and substance abuse crimes, women’s issues, or family issues such as domestic violence. Many law firms will handle a number of these specialized areas, but usually under a general umbrella of criminal litigation. A paralegal working in such a firm might for example, be asked to work for two different attorneys, one specializing in juvenile offenders and the other in computer or cyber crime.
It is therefore advisable, if you are planning to take criminal justice classes online or are planning to do a degree or certificate, to think about the particular concentration on which you would like to focus. Most programs allow electives and it is through those that you can develop your knowledge in more specific areas. As you plan your program, be sure that you get a good set of foundational criminal justice classes online like those listed above, and then a series of electives that will define your area of concentration and make your skills more appealing to potential employers.