Ritzi Law, LLC - Information & Resources

Common Legal Terminology

The legal system and jargon is foreign to many people. To help you with you understand more as we discuss your case, here are some common terms:

Acquittal: When there is a jury verdict that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.

Bench trial: A trial without a jury, in which the judge serves as the fact-finder.

Capital offense: A crime that can be punishable by death.

Exculpatory evidence: This is evidence that indicates a defendant did not commit the crime.

Joint petition: A petition filed by two parties together in a legal case.

Pro Se: When someone represents himself as one's own lawyer.

Plaintiff: A plaintiff files a lawsuit against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty.

Statute of limitations: The time in which a lawsuit must be filed or a criminal prosecution begun. The statute of limitations deadline can vary, depending on the type of civil case or the crime charged.

Subpoena: Issued under a court's authority, this commands a witness to appear and give testimony in a legal case.

Verdict: The decision of a trial jury or a judge determining the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant. It can also determine the final outcome of a civil case.

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