DSST Criminal Justice Practice Questions Answer Key
1. B: The best answer should take into account the basis of law, which is that laws are based upon fundamental conceptions of morality. Such fundamental conceptions are often termed “natural law.” Another fundamental conception is that of “social deviance,” but it is important to remember that social deviance can vary from one society to another, as do the laws in different states, countries, or communities. Choice “b” is the best answer. Keep in mind that there may be an “act which offends society” without committing a crime, that there are crimes which do not involve “physical or emotional harm,” and that all crimes are not property-related.
2. B: It is important to recognize that there is such a thing as justifiable homicide, often in cases of self-defense. The person who commits justifiable homicide does not have a guilty mind and does not intend to commit the act. “Mens rea” refers to the state of mind of a person who knows an act is illegal but commits the act anyway. The term literally means “guilty mind.” Choice “b” is the best answer.
4. C: The National Crime report derives from actual reports from police agencies across the country. It is more reliable than the National Crime Survey, which is compiled from a limited number of households. Self-reporting is not always accurate, and there are other limitations in the methodology employed, thereby leaving the National Crime Survey questionable in terms of accuracy. Choice “c” is the best answer. Choices “a” and “b” are simply not true, which makes “d” a wrong answer as well.
5. A: It would be nice if there were an instrument that could be used by police departments to predict when crimes would occur, but “d” will never be a reality. “C” is incorrect as well because both reports are national, not international. The correct answer is “a;” the crime clock is a statistical representation indicating the frequency of crimes. For example, the crime clock might measure the number of domestic abuse reports per minute in the U.S.
6. D: A key point to remember in determining rape is whether or not consent is given. In “date rape,” consent is particularly important in that sexual activity may have occurred among friends or acquaintances during agreeable social activity. Choice “a” refers to “forcible rape;” choice “b” refers to “statutory rape;” choice “c” does not constitute rape merely because one person has “regrets” about a consensual encounter. Answer “d” is the correct one—note that the phrase “without consent” is a key concept.
7. C: Manslaughter charges can derive from accidents or physical confrontations, but the charge is warranted only in those cases where there is clearly no intent to kill another. Non-criminal homicide can be legitimately claimed by a person who grabs a gun and intends to kill a knife-wielding home invader in self-defense and does so. That difference is best expressed in “c” but, of course, much depends on the circumstances determined in the course of a thorough police investigation. Choice “a” is wrong; police are not exempt from manslaughter if they cause the death of another person, even if the act is not intentional.
8. D: Burglary can be a tricky subject. It doesn’t matter whether the doors are locked or unlocked or whether the homeowner is home or not. The key issue is that the burglar unlawfully enters a home or a business with intent to commit a crime. Without authorization from the proprietor and with the purpose of committing a crime, the intruder can be charged with burglary. Of course, the issue of intending to commit a crime can be argued by criminal attorneys and the prosecutor. Choice “d” is the best answer. Force is not required for this charge, and the burglar may be unsuccessful even though he has the intent.
9. B: The threat of bodily harm and the capability of causing harm are sufficient to merit a charge of assault against Martha, even though she restrained herself from physical contact. The best answer is “b.” Unless she held a gun or knife to Samaira’s head or did bang her into the wall, Martha would not likely be charged with “aggravated assault,” the more serious charge that is a felony. Martha’s physical capabilities would come into consideration in terms of her ability to harm Samaira and, therefore, would be a factor in an assault charge.
10. A: Latin terms can often be troubling, but in this case, a literal translation will help you get the right answer. The term literally means the “country as parents.” Another way of saying that is that the state (being the “country”) can serve as the parents in cases where the court has so ruled that other parental options are not in the best interest of the minor. Choice “a” is the only accurate answer to the question; the other answer choices are incorrect.