What Do Certain
Criminal Terms Mean?
Have no worries. We are here to make sure you understand what certain criminal terms mean. While it is important to understand the criminal justice system and your rights, for many first time offenders, the criminal justice system can be overwhelming. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who actually cares about what happens to you is the best thing you can ever do to protect and defend yourself or your family member.
- Arraignment – A proceeding where the criminal defendant is brought into court, informed of the charges he/she is being charged with, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
- Expungement – Legally erasing an individual’s criminal record.
- Indictment – A formal charge from a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence to prove the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; used primarily for felonies.
- Accusation – A claim that an individual has committed an illegal act.
- Infraction – A minor violation of the law that results in a fine.
- Parole – The release of an offender from imprisonment after the inmate has completed part of his or her sentence in a federal prison. The parolee is released to the community under the supervision of a Parole officer and Board of Pardon and Paroles has authority over them. Once they have completed their parole time, then supervision will be taken over by the local probation office.
- Probation – Type of sentence that allows an individual who has pled guilty or was convicted of a crime to serve the sentence out of custody while abiding by certain conditions monitored by a probation officer. Non-violent offenses or lack of a criminal history are two main reasons a defendant will be given probation over jail or prison time.
- Restitution – Reimbursement ordered by the court to restore a person to their original state if not for unacceptable action taken by another.
- Vacate – To cancel or rescind an entry of record or a judgment.
- Bench warrant – An arrest warrant issued by a judge for an individual who has failed to appear before court after having been summoned.
- Search warrant – Legal document giving law enforcement permission to search a specific person, property, etc. for items to be used as evidence in court.
- Arrest warrant – A court order requesting an individual be taken into custody by law enforcement and to appear before the court.