Common Terms in Criminal Court
When you are facing criminal charges, there is a lot of uncertainty you will have to deal with. If you are like most people, you probably do not know the intricacies that come with a criminal trial, or how the courts operate. You probably are not familiar with many legal terms that are used both inside and outside of the courtroom when it comes to criminal trials. The following list of terms can help you understand what is going on when you do find yourself in the midst of a criminal proceeding:
Acquittal: This is the outcome that is most favorable with criminal cases – if you are acquitted, you were not found guilty because the evidence against you was not sufficient for a conviction.
Affidavit: This is a written statement, which must be confirmed by oath by the party who is giving the statement. An affidavit must be notarized by an officer of the court to be valid. In criminal cases, an affidavit often contains evidence, such as an alibi.
Appeal: An appeal is a request to have the case re-examined by a higher court to determine whether the outcome of the original case was correct. In criminal cases, an appeal is usually asked for when the defendant believes improper procedure was used or the law was not interpreted correctly.
Bail: Often in the form of money, bail is the release of the person accused of a crime before he or she goes to trial and the promise that they will appear in court when they are required to do so.
Conviction: A conviction means that the defendant was found guilty of the crime typically after a trial on the merits.
Felony: A felony is a crime that carries a sentence of one year in prison or more. These crimes are usually more serious, such as murder, vehicle theft, aggravated assault, and multiple DUI convictions.
Plea Deal: Also called a plea bargain, a plea deal is an agreement between the defendant and prosecutor in which the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a more favorable outcome. This can be lesser charges, a dismissal of charges, or a lesser sentence.
Probation: Often used as an alternative to prison time, probation is the agreement that a person will obey certain rules after they are convicted of a crime in exchange for being able to live in the community.
Warrant: Warrants are written orders that can allow a police officer to arrest a suspect or search an area. Search warrants require probable cause before they can be issued.
Get Help From a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges, you may be confused about all of the legal jargon that your lawyer, judge or prosecutor is using. In order for you to best help yourself, you should try to familiarize yourself with the terms that are commonly used in criminal cases. A knowledgeable Will County criminal defense lawyer can help you understand these terms. The Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C. will help you throughout your trial and fight for your freedom, no matter the charge. To schedule a free consultation, call the office at 815-740-4025.