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CHM Law Arizona Family Law, Criminal Defense and DUI Lawyers

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Glossary of Legal Terms & Definitions

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  • Damages  Damages are money the court has awarded to the injured party in a court case.  
  • Debtor  A debtor is a person or business that owes a monetary amount to another person or business.  
  • Decree  Another word for the court’s final decision on a case.  
  • Deed  A legally enforceable written document that outlines and describes the boundaries of a property.  
  • Default  A defendant is found to be in default when they fail to appear after receiving the summons and answer the complaint.  
  • Default judgment  Default judgment is entered when a defendant is found to be in default and awards the opposing party what they are requesting.  
  • Defendant  Is the person accused of a crime or being sued for an action that has to defend themselves in a legal proceeding.  
  • Delinquent Act  When a minor commits an act that would be considered a crime if committed by an adult.  
  • Department of Economic Security (DES)  An Arizona agency tasked with overseeing and coordinate IV-D payments and public assistance programs.  
  • Dependency  A dependency action begins when children are removed from their parents’ home for safety or general welfare concerns. During a dependency action, a court will determine whether the parent is fit to care for the child or if their parental rights should be severed.   
  • Deposition  Oral or written testimony taken outside of court, under oath, of a witness or a party to be used later as evidence or read in court.  
  • Disbarment  Disbarment is when a lawyer’s license is revoked, either temporarily or permanently, for unethical conduct.  
  • Discipline Agency  An agency established by the state to investigate complaints against lawyers and, if necessary, enforce an appropriate punishment. These agencies cannot help recover fees paid or force lawyers to reimburse for losses suffered.  
  • Discovery  The gathering of facts and documents possessed by other parties or witnesses before trial in order to prepare arguments for trial.  
  • Dismissal  A court or party dismisses a case when they find there is not enough evidence to proceed.  
  • Dismissal with prejudice  When a good reason exists for dismissing a case and the plaintiff is forbidden from bringing the same claim again.  
  • Dismissal without prejudice  When a case is dismissed for a lack of supporting evidence, but the same claim may be brought later in a new suit.  
  • Docket (trial docket)  A list of cases and matters to be completed in those cases assigned to a specific judge, or a list of court proceedings the judge has that day.  
  • Domicile  A person’s permanent residence or their home to which they intend to return.  
  • Double jeopardy  When a criminal defendant may not be tried a second time for the same crime where the prosecution failed to convict through no fault of the defendant.  
  • Due process  Constitutionally, a person cannot have their basic rights taken away by the government without receiving their day in court.  
  • Duty of Support  Parents of an unemancipated natural or adopted minor child have an obligation to financially support them until they reach the age of 18, unless the child is still attending high school or a certified equivalency program, then they must continue to support the child until finished. If a(...)

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