Action that offends the morality of society and that society will not tolerate.
Criminal Justice System
System whereby the federal or a state government brings an action against an individual alleging that the individual has broken a law or laws, thereby committing a crime.
Major crime for which a severe penalty, such as a substantial fine, imprisonment, or capital punishment, may be assessed.
Minor crime, varying from a traffic violation to theft of a small amount of money.
Procedural due process
Rights and privileges available under the Bill of Rights to the defendant in a criminal matter, such as notice that he or she is accused of a crime, and a fair hearing.
Evidence that leads a reasonable person to believe that guilt is more than a possibility.
Rule that evidence obtained in violations of standards set out in the Fourth Amendment must be excluded from Court.
Grand jury indictment
Charge made by an official body of citizens brought together to decide whether a person accused of a crime should be officially charged.
Official body of citizens brought together to decide whether an accused person should be officially charged.
Decision by a grand jury that a person must be brought to trial.
Doctrine under which an individual may not be tried more than once for the same allegation.
Privilege against self-incrimination
Privilege, provided by a clause in the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, that one shall not be compelled to be a witness against oneself.
Rule requiring an oral admonition advising a person under arrest of the rights he or she has under the United States Constitution, such as the right against self-incrimination and the right to have an attorney present.
The person who represents the government in a criminal proceeding and who prepares and conducts the case against the accused; at the municipal and state level, the person is usually called the district attorney; at the federa level, the person is called a U.S. attorney.
Order to appear before a Judge at a later date.
Written accusation by a competent public officer upon his or her oath of office that a person has committed a criminal offense. Form of indictment but without grand jury involvement.
Charging document that initiates a litigation proceeding; document filed with the Court outlining the wrong a plaintiff believes has been done.
Pretrial release program
Program under which a defendant is allowed release until trial in return for paying a small premium on a bail bond called a pretrial release bond; see bail bond.
Legal document containing the promise of a defendant to appear for trial or to forfeit a sum of money.
Bail bond for which guarantee is made by a deposit of cash.
Bail bond by which guarantee is made by a second person's promise to pay if the defendant fails to appear for trial.
Bail bond for a minor offense.
Promise of defendant to appear at trial, without a sum of money to guarantee such appearance; see bail bond.
Occasion at which the defendant is brought into Court and the charge or charges against the defendant are read.
"I will not contest it," an alternate plea to "guilty" or "not guilty."
Negotiation between the prosecutor and defense counsel to have the defendant enter a guilty plea in exchange from some benefit to the defendant, such as a reduction of charges.