Criminal Justice | Learning Resources | Section 3.4

Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System by Adam J. McKee

Section 3.4: Legal Defenses

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Learning Resources

Learning Objectives
3.4(a) Compare and contrast the two major categories of legal defenses.
3.4(b) Discuss the frequency and probability of success of the insanity defense.
3.4(c) List and explain the various legal tests for insanity.
3.4(d) Describe the circumstances under which intoxication may be a legal defense, and when it is not.
3.4(e) Describe the circumstances under which a successful entrapment defense can be raised.
3.4(f) Describe the circumstances under which a successful self-defense justification may be raised.
3.4(g) Describe the circumstances under which a successful necessity defense may be raised.
3.4(h) Describe when a mistake is and is not a valid legal defense.

Slide Presentations

For the Classroom:  INTRO-Section-3-4-presentation

For Printing: INTRO-Section-3-4-print

Present from the web:

Key Terms

  • Coercion
  • Deadly Force
  • Duress
  • Entrapment
  • Excuse
  • Imminent Danger
  • Insanity Defense
  • Involuntary Intoxication
  • Irresistible Impulse Test
  • Justification
  • Lesser of Two Evils Defense
  • Mistake Defense
  • Mistake of Fact
  • Mistake of Law
  • M’Naghten Rule
  • Necessity Defense
  • Non-deadly Force
  • Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity
  • Parsons v. State (1887)
  • Self-defense
  • Solicitation
  • Substantial Capacity Test
  • Voluntary Intoxication

Download a Printable Vocabulary Study Guide [PDF]: Intro_Section_3.4

In your more advanced courses and in your future career, your understanding of many technical and legal terms will be taken for granted.  It is vital that you take the time to really understand the terms presented at the end of each section of this course.  We’ve gone to great lengths to provide you with assistance in mastering this vocabulary.  Don’t forget that there is an extensive glossary that defines all of the bold terms that you will encounter in your reading.  In addition, the vocabulary for each section has been made available on a very useful website called  This site has a wide selection of flashcards for you to study, memorize, test yourself on, and more.  Cram also has a large app store so you can find other mobile flashcards for your Android, iPhone or Windows device, allowing you to take your flashcards on the go. There are even games that add some fun to learning important terms.

Study Flashcards for this vocabulary on

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Last Updated:  04/21/2021

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