Important Criminal Law Terms You Should Know: A Brief Glossary
Your criminal defense lawyer is here to represent you and do all of the hard work for you throughout the trial. While this is great, it can be difficult to keep up with any turn of events throughout your case if you are not familiar with the process. We provide a quick glossary of terms commonly used in criminal law to help you prepare.
An acquittal is a jury verdict stating that the criminal defendant is not guilty of said crime. This term also refers to the instance in which the judge finds and discovers that the evidence of the crime is not sufficient to support a conviction.
This term is used to describe evidence that may be valid enough to be brought into a case to be evaluated by a jury or a judge. This term is often heard and used in both civil and criminal cases.
A class action is a lawsuit in which one or more members of a large group or “class” of individuals or other entities sue on behalf of the entire group. The group acts as a class. The district court must then find and determine that the claims of the class members contain questions of law or facts in common before the lawsuit can proceed as a class action.
A deposition is an orally spoken statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. These statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery (procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial), or to be used later in the trial.
This term refers to a release of a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. Some exceptions to this concept include taxes and student loans. In addition to releasing debtors from personal liabilities, it also intends to prevent the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor or the debtor’s property to collect the debts. This process also keeps creditors from speaking with the debtor regarding concerns of debt. This communication includes phone calls, letters, and personal contact.
Habeas corpus is a Latin term that means “you have the body”. A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial order forcing law enforcement authorities to call a prisoner they are holding and justify the confinement of the prisoner. Federal judges will receive petitions for a writ of habeas corpus from state prison inmates who state that their state prosecutions went against their federally protected rights in some way or another.
This term refers to a court order that prevents one of more named parties from taking action. A preliminary injunction is often issued to allow fact-finding during the discovery process that way it allows a judge to determine whether a permanent injunction can be justified.
This term is the formal charge issued by a grand jury that states there is sufficient evidence that says the defendant committed the said crime to justify holding a trial. This is used primarily in cases of felonies.
This is a request by a litigant (defendant) to a judge for a decision on an issue relating to the case. Most motions require a written petition, a written brief of legal reasons for granting the motion (often referred to as points and authorities).
This term refers to the conduct of rules for filing and working through a lawsuit. There are rules to be followed in several cases, such as civil procedures, criminal procedures, evidence, bankruptcy, and appellate procedures.
This term is issued to repeat criminal offenders, who are convicted of a crime after having been previously convicted, regardless of when it happened and the severity of the charge and punishment.
A subpoena is a command issued under a court’s authority to have a witness appear in court and give testimony.
Temporary Restraining Order
Similar to how a preliminary injunction works, a temporary restraining order is a judge’s short-term order that forbids certain actions from the defendant until a full hearing can be conducted. This is also known and spoken as TRO for short.
This is a written court order directing a person to take or refrain from taking a certain act during the time of the trial.
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If you have been accused of a crime, you need to get in touch with a criminal defense attorney right away. The Huerta Law Firm is ready to get working on your case and to protect your rights. Contact the professionals at our law firm today to get started.