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- ACQUITTAL look up translate image
- A legal judgment, based on the decision of either a jury or a judge, that an accused is not guilty of the crime for which he or she has been charged and tried.
- ADJUDICATION look up translate image
- The judicial decision that ends a criminal proceeding by a judgment of acquittal, conviction, or dismissal of the case.
- APPEAL look up translate image
- Following a conviction, the offender may appeal the judgment of conviction to the state appellate with jurisdiction over the cause. In Missouri, the Missouri Supreme Court automatically has appellate jurisdiction where a sentence of death has been imposed; otherwise, the appeal is heard by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
- ARRAIGNMENT look up translate image
- The first appearance before the court by a person charged, at which time he or she is advised of the pending charges, the right to counsel, and the right to trial by jury.
- ARREST WARRANT look up translate image
- An order made on behalf of the state, based on a complaint, and signed by a judge authorizing police to arrest a person thought to have committed a crime. A person arrested on a warrant stays in jail until bail is posted or until released by order of the court.
- ASSOCIATE CIRCUIT COURT look up translate image
- In Missouri, an accused is arraigned in the Associate Circuit Court, prior to being bound over to the Circuit Court for further proceedings.
- BAIL look up translate image
- Money or property promised or given to the court as security when a defendant is released before and during his or her trial with the agreement that he or she will return to court when ordered to do so. The court sets the bail amount or value depending on several factors, including seriousness of the charges and the likelihood that the defendant will attempt to flee prior to the required court appearances. Bail is forfeited to the court if the defendant fails to return to court.
- BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT look up translate image
- The degree of proof needed for a judge or jury to convict an accused person of a crime.
- BURDEN OF PROOF look up translate image
- In the criminal context, the State carries the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offense for which he or she is charged.
- CAPITAL OFFENSE look up translate image
- In Missouri, the commission of murder in the first degree, i.e., killing another person with deliberation, is punishable by a sentence of death, or life imprisonment without the possibility of probation or parole.
- CHARGE look up translate image
- A formal accusation filed by the prosecutor's office that a specific person has committed a specific crime; also referred to as "pressing charges."
- CIRCUIT COURT look up translate image
- In Missouri, the Circuit Court has jurisdiction in criminal matters over all felonies.
- COMPLAINT look up translate image
- A preliminary charge made by the state that a person has committed a specified offense.
- CONCURRENT SENTENCES look up translate image
- Running together -- concurrent sentences run, or are served, at the same time.
- CONSECUTIVE SENTENCES look up translate image
- Sentences run one after the other.
- CONTINUANCE look up translate image
- A delay or postponement of a court hearing; the case is said to be "continued" when it has been delayed or postponed. A case can be continued for good cause, such as illness or witness unavailability, or by agreement of the parties.
- CONVICTION look up translate image
- A judgment of the court, based either on the decision of a jury or judge that the defendant is guilty of the crime for which he or she was tried.
- CRIME look up translate image
- A violation of the law.
- DEFENDANT look up translate image
- A person who has been formally charged with committing a specific crime.
- DEFENSE ATTORNEY look up translate image
- The lawyer who represents the defendant in a legal proceeding.
- DEPOSITION look up translate image
- Sworn testimony of a witness taken outside of court in the presence of the attorneys for the defense and prosecution. A deposition can be used at trial to impeach or discredit a witness's testimony or can be read to a jury if the witness is unavailable.
- DISMISSAL look up translate image
- A decision by a judicial officer to end a case for legal or other reasons.
- DISPOSITION look up translate image
- The final decision which ends a criminal proceeding by judgment of acquittal or dismissal or which sets the sentence if the defendant has previously been convicted.
- FELONY look up translate image
- A serious crime punishable by more than one year in prison.
- GRAND JURY look up translate image
- A body of persons, selected and convened upon order of a judge, to inquire into and return indictments for crimes. The grand jury has the power to request that the circuit clerk issue subpoenas to bring people testify before it.
- HABEAS CORPUS - FEDERAL look up translate image
- Refers to a proceeding wherein a prisoner challenges the lawfulness of his or her imprisonment. An action by way of writ of habeas corpus does not function to determine the prisoner's guilt or innocence. When the proceeding is brought by a state inmate, review extends to the constitutionality of the imprisonment. For more information, see the Criminal Prosecution Procedure page.
- HEARING look up translate image
- A legal proceeding in which arguments, witnesses, and/or evidence are heard by a judicial officer or administrative body.
- HEARSAY look up translate image
- Testimony of an individual that is not from his or her personal knowledge, but from what the witness has heard another person say.
- IMPLIED CONSENT look up translate image
- If one is granted the privilege of possessing a driver's license, one has automatically given "implied consent" to submit to alcohol or drug testing. In Missouri, refusal to consent to testing results in revocation of the license for a period of one year. The revocation is handled administratively through the Missouri Department of Revenue, rather than through a criminal court proceeding.
- INDICTMENT look up translate image
- Formal charging document presented by the prosecuting attorney to a grand jury. The grand jury may then issue the indictment if it believes that the accusation, if proved, would lead to a conviction.
- INFORMATION look up translate image
- Formal charging document issued by a prosecuting attorney (with no grand jury involvement).
- INFRACTION look up translate image
- A violation of a statute in which the only punishment authorized is a fine and which is expressly designated as an infraction.
- JAIL look up translate image
- Local facility where persons in lawful custody are held; defendants awaiting trial and defendants convicted of minor crimes usually are held in jail, as opposed to prison.
- JUDICIAL OFFICER OR JUDGE look up translate image
- An officer of the court who determines causes between parties or renders decisions in a judicial capacity. The judge generally decides questions of law, except in the case where a jury-trial is waived, the court also then functions as a fact-finder.
- MISDEMEANOR look up translate image
- A crime that is less serious than a felony and for which the punishment is usually imprisonment for one year or less, usually in a jail or other local facility, and/or a fine.
- NOLLE PROSEQUI look up translate image
- Voluntary dismissal of criminal charges by the state.
- PAROLE look up translate image
- Release of a prisoner from imprisonment, but not from legal custody.
- PERSONAL RECOGNIZANCE look up translate image
- The promise of an accused person to the court that he or she will return to court when ordered to do so. The promise is given in exchange for release before and/or during his or her trial.
- PLEA look up translate image
- A defendant's formal answer in court to the charge(s) that he or she is accused of committing.
- PLEA AGREEMENT / PLEA NEGOTIATION look up translate image
- An agreement between the State and defendant wherein the defendant agrees to plead guilty under certain terms and conditions. Since both the State and the defendant risk losing should the case go to trial, plea agreements are a means of arriving at a reasonable disposition without the necessity of going to trial. In Missouri, the victim has the right to be made aware of the plea agreement and to comment on the offer. All plea agreements are subject to the judge's approval.
- PLEA OF GUILTY look up translate image
- Admission of guilt in open court.
- POSTCONVICTION PROCEEDINGS look up translate image
- Following conviction and direct appellate review, many states provide for procedures for postconviction review. Typically the grounds for relief under these proceedings are both limited and different from those on appeal from a conviction. For more information, see the Criminal Prosecution Procedure page.
- PRE-SENTENCE INVESTIGATION (PSI) look up translate image
- The PSI is usually conducted by a probation officer after a plea or verdict of guilty. Done before sentencing to enable the judge to learn more about the defendant so that he or she is better able to impose a proper sentence. The PSI includes information about the defendant's criminal history and personal background. The individual conducting the PSI will contact the victim(s) of the crime to determine how he or she has been impacted by the defendant's actions.
- PRELIMINARY HEARING look up translate image
- The hearing for a person charged with a felony before an associate circuit judge, wherein the State must establish that there is probable cause to believe that the accused committed the specific crime charged, and which may require witness testimony.
- PRISON look up translate image
- State facilities where persons convicted of the commission of a felony are held. In Missouri, prisons are operated under the direction of the Missouri Department of Corrections.
- PRO SE look up translate image
- When the defendant is not represented by counsel, as he or she has waived the right to counsel in a criminal proceeding, or is otherwise not represented in a civil proceeding.
- PROBABLE CAUSE look up translate image
- Degree of proof needed to arrest.
- PROBATION look up translate image
- Conditional freedom granted to an offender by the court after conviction or a guilty plea with requirements for the offender's behavior, and which any violation of such requirements may result in revocation of the probation. Supervision is usually by a probation officer.
- PROSECUTOR look up translate image
- A lawyer employed by the government to represent the general public's interests in court proceedings against people accused of committing crimes.
- PUBLIC DEFENDER look up translate image
- An attorney that is employed by a government agency to represent defendants who are unable to hire private counsel.
|Number of terms
20 Criminal Terms You Should Know
The concept of crime varies from time to time and from place to place. Here are some terms used to describe some different types of crime in the U.S.Criminal Background Records Glossary - Criminal Justice Terms and Definitions - Criminal Records Glossary
Criminal Background Records Glossary: Appellate Court, Arrest, Arson, Assault, Battery, Blackmail, Burglary, Circuit Courts, Conviction, Attorney, Sentence, Weapon, Defendant,Delinquency, Extortion, Felony, Fine, Fraud, Guilty, Homicide, Illicit, Injunction, Intoxication, Kidnapping, Juvenile, Larceny, Manslaughter, Magistrate, Murder, Negligence, Warrant, Parole, Perjury, Rape, Probation, TheftCRIMINAL JUSTICE TERMS
mova.missouri.orgGlossary of Michigan Criminal Terms --- Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council
Legal glossary ... Michigan Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council; 116 W. Ottawa, Ste 200; Lansing, MI, USA 48933