Legal Term Glossary

General Legal Terms

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Term Definition

Someone who brings an action, such as a complaint.


Response of a defendant to the criminal charges stated; the plea is usually guilty or not guilty.

Plea Agreement

A process between the accused and the prosecution to negotiate a mutually satisfactory outcome of the case.

Synonyms - Plea Bargain
Points of Law

The legal questions that a case may raise.


Geographic subdivision of city, town or county, used to describe the jurisdiction of a justice of the peace or for election purposes.

Preliminary Hearing

Court proceeding used to determine whether there is enough evidence against a person charged with a felony to proceed to trial.

Presiding Judge

Judge who handles the administrative duties of the court. Depending on the court, this judge may also hear cases.

Pro Per

Appearing in court for oneself, as in the case of one who does not use the services of a lawyer.

Synonyms - Pro Se
Probable Cause

Reasonable cause; there is more evidence for than against.


The legal process of establishing the validity of a will and settling an estate.


A conditional suspension of the sentence given by a court in a criminal case. If the terms of probation are completed successfully, the sentence is not imposed. If the terms of probation are violated, probation may be revoked and the sentence carried out.

Proposition 109

The constitutional amendment that required public input and the establishment of a process to review judges job performances.


Attorney representing the citizens of a particular community or the state in a criminal case. This may be the city attorney, county attorney or attorney general.

Record on Appeal

Those papers, transcripts and exhibits from the trial court that are forwarded to the appellate court for review.


The second questioning of a witness by the side that called the witness.


To send back; an appellate court may remand a case to the trial court for retrial or other action.

Res Judicata

A thing adjudged. Once a particular case or controversy has been judicially decided in a legal proceeding, it is final and cannot be heard again.


A person is said to rest or rest its case when it has presented all of the evidence it intends to offer.


Criminal: Payment of money to reimburse the economic loss suffered by the victim because of the actions of the defendant.

Eviction: An enforcement order of an eviction. After a specified period of time if a tenant who has been evicted stays on the property a writ of restitution allows a sheriff or constable to remove the tenant from the property and allows the landlord to change the locks on the residence.

Synonyms - Writ of Restitution

The electoral process by which voters decide whether judges will continue to serve another term in their current judicial capacity.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.