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On April 30, 2014, The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) granted accreditation to the NALA Certified Paralegal program for demonstrating compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The NCCA Standards were created to ensure certification programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry.  The NALA Certified Paralegal program joins an elite group of more than 120 organizations representing over 270 certification programs that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation. More information on the NCCA is available online at www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCA

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Criminal Litigation

This page summarizes the Criminal Litigation Advanced Paralegal Certification course. Use the links below to review the items, register or login to the course. If you have not already registered as a user on the NALA APC web site, click "Register for the Course." If you have already registered for this or another APC course, you have already created a user account, click "Login."

Paralegals who are not seeking the Advanced Paralegal Certification credential are welcome to register and take any APC courses as advanced continuing education programs. CLE credit is available upon completion of the courses from NALA for Certified Paralegals, and from various state CLE programs.

Prerequisite Knowledge Learning Contract Register for the course
Fee:   $250 Members; $300 Non Members

Course Description

The Criminal Litigation course explores the intricacies of criminal law and procedure.  Issues addressed in the course range from search and arrest, through the criminal process, to appeal. As a paralegal working with either a prosecutor's office or a defense attorney's office, you are likely to encounter issues involving criminal law, therefore the course examines these issues from both perspectives. Paralegals can assist attorneys in many ways throughout the duration of a criminal case. After completing this Criminal Litigation course, a paralegal will have knowledge to assist:

  • Identify Fourth Amendment issues in search and seizure fact patterns
  • Apply warrant requirement exceptions for warrantless searches and seizures
  • Recognize due process violations in government interrogations
  • Protect a defendant's constitutional rights throughout the judicial proceedings
  • Define elements of an offense
  • Identify accomplices, principals and accessories to a crime
  • Draft a complaint or indictment
  • Calculate the statute of limitations for a crime
  • Prepare for various pre-trial hearings
  • Participate in trial strategizing
  • Request discovery and file pre-trial motions
  • Prepare for and participate in jury selection
  • Aid in organization and presentation during trial
  • Draft post-trial motions
  • Collect information for presentence investigation reports
  • Prepare for revocation hearings
  • Apply rules for filing appeals
  • Draft appellate motions and briefs
  • Recognize issues in juvenile proceedings
  • Apply provisions of The Electronic Communications Privacy Act

Prerequisite Knowledge

Those taking this course should be familiar with the following:

  • Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure
  • Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure
  • Statutes of limitations
  • Practice & Procedure Forms
  • Internet research
  • Trial practice
  • Drafting motions
  • Discovery

Course Modules

The Advanced Paralegal Certification course on Criminal Litigation consists of successful completion of 10 modules of text, assessments, and assignments.  The modules and their objectives are as follows:

1. Constitutional Rights: Searches and Seizures
Application of Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures by the government; governmental action; reasonable expectation of privacy; probable cause and reasonable suspicion; search warrant requirements; warrant requirement exceptions; execution of a search warrant; the exclusionary rule; preservation of evidence; and chain of custody.
2. Constitutional Rights:  Self-Incrimination and the Right to Counsel
Due process protections against coercive conduct by the government; Miranda requirements; waiver of Miranda rights; Sixth Amendment right to counsel, ineffective assistance of counsel, and protections against overreaching interrogations; entrapment; right to a jury trial; right to a speedy trial; confrontation clause; victim’s rights; double jeopardy; and privileges.
3. Elements of an Offense and Defenses
Elements of an offense; voluntary act; mental state; ignorance of the law and mistake; causation; attempt; accomplice liability; principals and accessories; solicitation; conspiracy; and enhancements.
4. Preliminary Proceedings
Initiation of criminal proceedings; the complaint; the indictment; motion to quash; statutes of limitations; arrest warrant or summons; criminal and immigration record search; defense case intake, investigation, and evaluation; initial bail; arraignment; court appointed counsel; plea negotiations; interstate agreement on detainer; and competency.
5. Preparation for Trial
Discovery; notice of 404(b) & 609 evidence; depositions; direct and affirmative defenses and strategy; defenses requiring notice to the prosecution; motion in limine; motion to recuse; Daubert motion; rape shield statutes; motion to dismiss; motion for change of venue; motion for bill of particulars; motion to suppress evidence; joinder and severance; motion for speedy trial; motion for continuance; procedure for drafting and filing motions; plea agreements; conditional pleas; and pretrial conferences.
6. Trial
Courtroom decorum; voir dire; juror questionnaires; background checks; challenges for cause; peremptory challenges; pretrial publicity; alternate jurors; role of bailiffs; sequestration; burden of proof; stages of trial and procedures; opening statements; case-in-chief; motion for judgment of acquittal; rebuttal; closing arguments; jury instructions; lesser included offenses; jury verdict; competency to testify; and role of the paralegal at trial.
7. Postconviction Proceedings
Bond revocation; motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict; motion for new trial; arresting judgment; criminal forfeiture; presentence investigation report; restitution; sentencing procedure; indeterminate, determinate and structured systems; sentencing guidelines; consecutive and concurrent sentences; merger doctrine; correcting a sentence; probation revocation; and parole revocation.
8. Appeals
Grounds for appeal; standards of review; appellate procedure; release on bail; computing time; filing the appeal; ordering the record; filing briefs; oral argument; drafting and serving a notice appeal; drafting a brief; amicus curiae briefs; Anders briefs; motion for rehearing; writ of habeas corpus; writ of mandamus; and nonjudicial remedies.
9. Juveniles
Purpose of the juvenile court system; status offenses and delinquent acts; rules of procedure; intake and custody; diversion programs; detention hearing; bail; CHINs, adjudication, and disposition; Indian child welfare statutes; juvenile probation; transfer to another court having jurisdiction; Constitutional rights; confidentiality and expungement; and petitioning the court upon attaining age of majority.
10. Technology and the Law
Searching and seizing computers with and without a warrant; motion for return of property; The Electronic Communications Privacy Act; disclosure of subscriber records and content by electronic communication services; using seized electronic evidence in trial; duty to protect client information that is sent or stored electronically; protecting e-mailed confidential communications from accidental disclosure; and protecting client information stored on electronic media.