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Criminal Procedure: Statutes and Practice Materials

Criminal Procedure resources for law students, bar examinees, and other researchers


Useful Definitions

AccusationA formal charge of criminal wrongdoing.

AcquittalThe legal certification, usually by jury verdict, that an accused person is not guilty of the charged offense.

ArraignmentThe initial step in a criminal prosecution whereby the defendant is brought before the court to hear the charges and to enter a plea.

Burden of ProofA party's duty to prove a disputed assertion or charge.

CrimeAn act that the law makes punishable; the breach of a legal duty treated as the subject-matter of a criminal proceeding.

Double JeopardyThe fact of being prosecuted or sentenced twice for substantially the same offense.

Due ProcessThe conduct of legal proceedings according to established rules and principles for the protection and enforcement of private rights, including notice and the right to a fair hearing before a tribunal with the power to decide the case.                              

FelonyA serious crime usually punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or by death.           

GuiltyA plea of a criminal defendant who does not contest the charges; or, a jury verdict convicting the defendant of the crime charged.

IndictmentThe formal written accusation of a crime, made by a grand jury and presented to a court for prosecution against the accused person.

MisdemeanorA crime that is less serious than a felony and is usually punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture, or confinement (usually for a brief term) in a place other than prison (such as a county jail).

All definitions come from Black’s Law Dictionary


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