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Legal Definitions

ACD: An Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (an “ACD”) is an agreement between the District Attorney’s office and the defense, to have your case adjourned for 6 months with a view toward having the case ultimately dismissed.

Acquittal: what an accused criminal defendant receives if he/she is found not guilty.

Adjudication: The legal process by which a case or claim is settled. May also be the final pronouncement of judgment in a case or claim.

Arraignment: the hearing in which a person charged with a crime is arraigned in his or her first appearance before a judge. This is the initial appearance of a criminal defendant (unless continued from an earlier time) in which all the preliminaries are taken care of.

Concurrent Sentences: Two or more terms of imprisonment served simultaneously.

Consecutive Sentences: Multiple sentences, served one after the other.

Conviction: Guilty verdict in a criminal trial.

Culpability: Degree of responsibility for a crime. This may be in degrees of purposeful, knowingly, recklessly or by negligence.

Cumulative Sentence: A sentence that takes effect after a prior sentence is completed for crimes tried under the same cause of action.

Disposition: the court’s final determination of a lawsuit or criminal charge.

Habeas Corpus: A writ requesting a trial or the release of a prisoner.

Indictment: A formal, written accusation made by the grand jury.

No Bill or No True Bill: The decision by a grand jury that it will not bring indictment against the accused on the basis of the allegations and evidence presented by the prosecutor.

No Contest: A plea in which the defendant does not contest the charge. This has the same effect as a guilty plea except the conviction cannot be used against the defendant in a civil suit.

Nolle Prosequi: (no-lay pro-say-kwee) n. Latin for “we shall no longer prosecute,” which is a declaration made to the judge by a prosecutor in a criminal case either before or during trial, meaning the case against the defendant is being dropped.

Nolo Contendre: Latin phrase used by a defendant to say “I do not wish to contest.” This plea in a criminal case has the legal effect of pleading guilty. See No Contest.

Parole: To release from confinement after serving part of a sentence, usually with terms and conditions provided in the parole order.

Plea: in criminal law, the response by an accused defendant to each charge of the commission of a crime. Pleas normally are “not guilty,” “guilty,” “no contest” (admitting the facts, but unwilling to plead “guilty,” thus resulting in the equivalent of a “guilty” verdict but without admitting the crime).

Plea Bargain: A plea of guilty to a lesser offense in return for a lighter sentence.

Probation: Relief of all or part of a sentence on the promise of proper conduct.

Remand: To return an individual to custody pending further trial, or to return a case from an appellate to a lower court for further proceedings.

Restraining Order: An order prohibiting a specified action until such time that a hearing on an application for an injunction can be held.

Sentence: the punishment given to a person convicted of a crime. A sentence is ordered by the judge, based on the verdict of the jury (or the judge’s decision if there is no jury) within the possible punishments set by state law.

Suspended Sentence: Deferment of punishment usually over a period of probation.

Truncated Files: Destroyed or partially destroyed. Unable to obtain any more information.

Verdict: the decision of a jury after a trial, which must be accepted by the trial judge to be final.

Warrant: Court order authorizing a law enforcement official to arrest or perform search and seizure.

Writ: A written court order, or a judicial process.

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Employment Screening Services, LLC
PO Box 1108
Williamsville, NY 14231

Phone: 1-800-345-7715
Fax: 716.332.2276

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