If you are facing a court trial for criminal charges, it is helpful to know some common terms and definitions that will likely be used to adjudicate your case. This knowledge will allow you to comprehend the proceedings of the trial and better understand the circumstances of your sentencing and subsequent penalties.
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– This is the trial in which a judge informs a defendant of their criminal charges.
– Any type of official proceedings that take place before a criminal trial.
Trial De Novo
– A new or sequential trial.
Failure to Appear
– The action of a defendant missing a scheduled, court-ordered, mandatory hearing. Also known as an “FTA.”
– A case, action, suit, or motion that is dismissed by the court without a trial.
– The state or government attorneys who review criminal cases for filing. This includes District attorneys, state prosecutors, and Attorney Generals.
– An individual being charged or prosecuted for a crime they are suspected of committing.
– A public official who is legal authorized to decides cases in a court of law.
– The person who maintains order, safety, and security in the court room. This includes Deputy Marshals, Deputy Sheriffs, and Correctional Officers.
– The built-in desk and seating area at the head of the court room. This is where the judge sits and people testify.
– Unproven violations of the law that must be answered to by the accused in a criminal case.
– A situation of dispute contested in a court of law.
– The process in which a defendant is given the right to review all alleged charges and evidences that the prosecution has (and may use) against them.
– A final judgement regarding a criminal case.
– A request for a particular order or ruling by the judge.
– A judge allows for a requested motion.
Denial of Motion
– A judge refuses to allow a requested motion.
– A court ruling over a lawyer’s motion or request.
– The act of opposing or contesting a piece of evidence presented by the opposing party.
– A judge’s refusal to gratify an objection by counsel in regards to evidence.
– A judge’s approval to uphold an objection by counsel in regards to evidence.
– A formal statement given by a defendant in regards to their criminal charges that discloses their guilt or innocence.
Not Guilty Plea
– A formal statement given by a defendant in regards to their criminal charges that asserts innocence.
– A formal statement given by a defendant in regards to their criminal charges that admits guilt.
Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
– A “no contest” plea, which automatically renders the defendant as guilty. This plea cannot be recanted in future civil matters unless allowable by law.
– Any real thing presented to the court as proof to support a fact. This includes items, witness testimonies, social media activity, recordings, photographs, and more.
– Specific and connected facts that would cause a practical, reasonably-thinking person to believe a crime has been committed, and that it was committed by the accused defendant.
– Evidence that is pertinent to the criminal charges against the defendant, and allowable in a court of law.
– An alleged statement made outside of the courtroom and presented as proof to refute a particular matter being affirmed in court.
– A group of men and women who have been appointed by trial attorneys to assess evidence and decide questions of fact. This group usually consists of 12 people, 18 years of age or older.
– A jury that cannot come to a unanimous agreement of guilty or innocent after an extended period of deliberation.
– The court’s official decision regarding the rights and claims of the involved parties in a criminal case.
– The formal decision or finding made by the court in regards to a defendant after they have been convicted of a crime (or crimes).
– The formal decision made by the jury.