On the Multistate Bar Exam (more commonly known as the MBE), the “Crimes” category includes both Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure.
Half of the Crimes questions test Criminal Law, and the other half Criminal Procedure.
In a previous blog post, we provided some tips to help you slay Criminal Procedure & Criminal Law Multiple-Choice Questions. But to ensure you feel confident tackling Crimes, we’ve gathered some additional tips!
Use the “Soccer Ball” Analogy
It’s not uncommon to face a Crimes MBE question where each answer choice references a different theft crime.
It can be difficult to distinguish larceny from embezzlement and false pretenses from larceny by trick.
To keep things straight, you can utilize the “Soccer Ball” analogy.
First, imagine the piece of property at issue magically transforming into a soccer ball.
You’re likely dealing with larceny if:
- The defendant didn’t have possession of the soccer ball to begin with.
- The defendant took the soccer ball without consent.
On the other hand, you’re in embezzlement territory if:
- The defendant began with rightful possession of the soccer ball.
- The defendant later does something with the soccer ball that they didn’t have the owner’s permission to do.
As for false pretenses, consider whether:
- The defendant now owns (obtains title to) the soccer ball.
- Ownership of the soccer ball came about because the defendant lied to the soccer ball’s original owner.
And finally, larceny by trick comes into play if:
- The defendant now has possession (i.e., custody) of the soccer ball but does not own it.
- Possession of the soccer ball came about because the defendant lied to the soccer ball’s original owner.
Ace Accomplice Liability
About a quarter of all Criminal Law MBE questions are dedicated to inchoate crimes, including accomplice liability.
When it comes to accomplice liability, it’s important to remember that the defendant-accomplice will be criminally on the hook for the target crime.
For example, an accomplice to robbery will be charged with robbery rather than with “accomplice liability.”
Keep in mind that the defendant-accomplice may also be criminally liable for other crimes the principal commits, even if the defendant-accomplice didn’t intend for those crimes to be committed.
The trick is to ask yourself if the other crimes were probable or foreseeable.
Here’s an example using arson:
If the target crime is arson of a particular residence, and it is a windy day, it’s probably foreseeable that the fire could spread to and destroy nearby homes.
In this instance, the defendant-accomplice could be convicted of multiple counts of arson, even if they only intended for one of the homes to burn down.
Conquer Car Issues
It’s a safe bet that you will encounter at least one Criminal Procedure MBE question that involves a vehicle—probably a question that features a police officer stopping or searching a car or truck.
These questions can get tricky because the standards differ depending on the situation.
Here’s a trick to keep them straight!
Think of “SS” when answering a question about an automobile stop:
- Stopping a car requires reasonable Suspicion that a law has been violated.
Think of “PP” when answering a question involving a search of a car where the suspect hasn’t been arrested:
- There must be Probable cause to Pop open the trunk (or any other part of the vehicle).
Think of “AAA” when answering a question involving a search of a car where the suspect has been arrested:
- If the suspect has been Arrested, the police can search the car Absent any probable cause or reasonable suspicion if the suspect could gain immediate Access to the car.
Master Criminal Procedure & Criminal Law MBE Questions
Many people struggle with MBE questions, but we’re here to change that!
Our MBE DNA prep course offers you more than 1,500 MBE practice questions that come directly from the NCBE, recorded workshops, and of course, MBE flashcards designed to help you learn the law you need to know.
It’s not enough to just study. You have to study right!