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Colburn Hintze Maletta – ⭐ 5 Star Rated Best Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and DUI Lawyers

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Glossary of Legal Terms & Definitions

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  •   The person who originally files a lawsuit or action, or appeals a lower court judgment.  
  •   Another term for a person who originates a lawsuit or action.  
  •   A defendant’s response to the charges made against them, it can be any of the following: guilty; not guilty; or nolo contendere.  
  •   An agreement in a criminal case where the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for lesser charges, a dismissal of charges, or a recommendation of a more lenient sentence.  
  •   The written complaint and answer filed by the parties in a civil case of their positions.  
  •   A court decision decided in a previous case with factual and legal similarity to a current dispute before the court, unless a party shows it was wrongly decided or differed significantly from the current case. Precedent can be binding, meaning it must be followed, or non-binding, meaning(...)
  •   A legal proceeding, similar to a grand jury, done before trial in which a prosecutor presents the evidence to a judge in an attempt to show there is probable cause a person committed a crime. If the judge does not find probable cause, the charges are dropped.  
  •   A person the law considers the legal father of a child because of their legal relationship to the child’s mother during pregnancy, such as being married to the mother.  
  •   A meeting before trial between the judge and parties or their lawyers to discuss the following: the status of the case and defense investigation, outstanding discovery issues, plea negotiations, pre-trial motions, and setting a timeline for the case and trial.  
  •   Work done for no compensation by an attorney for the public good.  
  •   A Latin phrase meaning “on one’s own behalf.” A person appears pro se when they choose to represent themselves with no help from an attorney.  
  •   The burden of proof that must be met prior to arresting a person or obtaining a search warrant from a judge. Based on the totality of the circumstances, an officer must reasonably believe that a crime has been committed and that the person being placed under arrest was the one who(...)
  •   The legal process of gathering and distributing assets to beneficiaries mentioned in a deceased person’s will, and the paying of any final debts and taxes.  
  •   The court that supervises the probate legal process of establishing the validity of a will and distributing assets.  
  •   An alternative to imprisonment where a convicted defendant is allowed to walk free under supervision as long as they observe certain conditions.  
  •   When a prosecutor charges someone with a crime.  
  •   An attorney that represents the government in criminal cases and has the responsibility of deciding who to prosecute. The prosecutor represents the state during criminal legal proceedings, including trial.  
  •   A government lawyer who represents defendants accused of a crime if they cannot afford an attorney of their own.  
  •   In a criminal case, a prosecutor must prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If they cannot prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt, then the defendant is entitled to an acquittal. This is the highest burden of proof in the legal system.  
  •   A written recording of all proceedings and actions in a lawsuit.  
  •   When a case is appealed to an appellate court, it is reviewed for any procedural errors. If errors are found, the court will send, or remand, the case back to the lower court for further proceedings, which may or may not change the final decision. A remand in the context of Grand Jury(...)
  •   A person who makes a written record of all court proceedings, prepares transcripts, and publishes opinions/decisions.  
  •   The term used for the person against whom an appeal of a court decision is brought or a term for the person answering a complaint in a civil case.  
  •   An amount of money paid to an attorney to reserve them for when a client needs their services at a later date.  
  •   When an appellate court finds an error with a lower court’s decision, the appellate court will set aside or reverse the decision and remand the case back to the lower court to issue a new decision.  
  •   The standards governing the form and admissibility of evidence in a civil or criminal case.  
  •   The Revised Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act: a statute that assists in establishing and enforcing support obligations when parents reside in different states. This act has been adopted by most states.  
  •   A court-issued document, supported by probable cause, which allows the police to search specific locations for specified items.  
  •   In the legal field, self-help refers to a person choosing to attempt to enforce their rights outside of the legal system. In the realm of family law, parents may attempt to use “self-help” to set a visitation schedule without court intervention. The downside to self-help in this context(...)
  •   After a criminal defendant is found guilty, the court orders or sentences them their punishment, which, among other terms, may include prison, jail, probation, and fines.  
  •   A written document created in a divorce proceeding that determines parental/child contact, child support, and parental rights without granting a divorce.  
  •   When the parties to a court action, including a criminal or family law case, resolve their differences without going through a formal trial.   
  •   A standard by which a party must prove their case in court. In a civil case, the plaintiff must prove their case by a “preponderance of the evidence” or “clear and convincing evidence.” In a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”  
  •   A person or group’s legal right to bring a lawsuit or legal challenge.  
  •   After a person has witnessed a crime or incident in which the police are called, the police will ask that person to give a statement of their experience. That statement may be written or oral.  
  •   A term that refers to a law passed by the state or federal legislature.  
  •   A law that designates the amount of time after an incident a party has to file an action in court or be prohibited from bringing the cause of action. In criminal law, most crimes have a set amount of time within which the prosecutor must bring charges against the accused.  
  •   An agreement between the parties of a lawsuit or other court action in which they agree certain laws or facts are assumed true and relevant.  
  •   A court order forcing a person to appear at trial or produce documents, or face penalties ordered by the court.  
  •   When, before the trial occurs, a judge decides there is no dispute as to the facts of the case and a party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.  
  •    A court issued document demanding a person appear in court or respond to a lawsuit, or risk having a judgment filed against them or a warrant issued for their arrest in the context of a criminal case.  
  •   A temporary order issued by the court to prevent immediate and irreparable damages or loss in an emergency.  
  •   When a person answers questions in court as a witness.  
  •   The answers a person gives when testifying as a witness in a case. Testimony is considered evidence in a trial.  
  • When a person or entity breaches a duty to another person causing a civil wrong or injury.  
  •   An exact written record of what was said in a trial or other proceeding related to a case.  
  •   A legal proceeding that happens when a defendant pleads “not guilty” and challenges the state’s evidence in front of a judge or jury. A trial occurs if opposing parties are unable to reach an alternative resolution.  
  •   A legal device set up by a person or business to help manage real or personal property for the benefit of another.  
  •   The person or entity appointed in trust documents to manage the real or personal property put into a trust.  
  •   A federal government attorney appointed by the President of the United States in each judicial district to prosecute and defend cases for the federal government.  

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