1) Misdemeanor: A crime less serious than a felony, punishable by or imprisonment for less than a year.
2) Punitive Damages: Damages awarded over and above compensatory damages for punishment.
3) Liability: The state of being responsible for an action, according to the law. When the fault is placed, the individual or business is liable for the wrongful occurrence.
4) Affidavit: A written or printed statement made under oath.
5) Statute: A written law passed by Congress or another legislative body.
6) Tort: From the French word for “wrong,” a tort is a wrongful or illegal act, whether intentional or accidental, in which an injury occurs to another.
7) Testify: When a witness or other individual is asked to orally present evidence during a trial. Someone who witnessed an incident may be asked to testify, as well as an individual who has been acquainted with the person on trial in the past.
8) Prima Facie Case: A case where, upon first look, the facts themselves prove the case.
9) Felony: A serious crime punishable by death or at least one year in a state or federal prison.
10) Depose: To testify or give under oath or sworn affidavit.
11) Discovery: The compulsory disclosure, by a party to an action, of relevant documents referred to by the other party.
12) Plaintiff: A person who brings a lawsuit. A plaintiff is the one who seeks to recover damages for a wrong committed by a defendant.
13) Defendant: A defendant is a person accused of committing a crime by the plaintiff.
14) Acquittal: A jury verdict that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.
15) Bail: The release, prior to trial, of a person accused of a crime, under specified conditions designed to assure that person's appearance in court when required.
16) Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges. See also nolo contendere.
17) Statute of Limitations: The time within which a lawsuit must be filed or a criminal prosecution began. The deadline can vary, depending on the type of civil case or the crime charged.
18) Appeal: A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct.
19) Due process: In criminal law, the constitutional guarantee that a defendant will receive a fair and impartial trial. In civil law, the legal rights of someone who confronts an adverse action threatening liberty or property.
20) Jurisdiction: The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case. It can also mean the geographic area over which the court has territorial jurisdiction to decide cases.
21) Verdict: The decision of a trial jury or a judge that determines the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant, or that determines the final outcome of a civil case.
Whether you are simply curious if you know these legal terms or you have an upcoming case on your hands, it's important to know what these common terms in the legal world mean. As your experienced lawyer at the Lake of the Ozarks, we can help you navigate your case. Whether it's a personal injury case, a family law case, or a criminal case, contact Gibbons Law Firm today. We can help walk you through the legal process you are about to encounter. Remember, your first consultation with our law firm is FREE!
Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.
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