Language of the Law

Legal terms you need to know

Assault and Battery
Assault and battery is the combination of two violent crimes. Assault (the threat of violence) and battery (physical violence).
Attorney-Client Privilege
Attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects communications between a client and their attorney and keeps those communications confidential encouraging open and honest communication between clients and attorneys.
Criminal Defense
In criminal prosecutions under the common law, a defendant may raise a defense in an attempt to avoid criminal liability. Beside contesting the accuracy of any allegation made against them in a criminal proceeding, a defendant may also raise a defense, arguing that, even if the allegations against the defendant are true, the defendant not liable.
The Government defines a felony as a crime which involves a potential punishment of one year or longer in prison, or death in the case of the most serious felonies, such as murder. Those convicted of felonies can receive punishments which range in severity; from probation, to imprisonment, to execution for premeditated murder or other serious crimes.
Fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. It can be committed through many methods, including mail, wire, phone, and the internet.
Miranda Warning
A Miranda warning is a warning given by police in the United States to criminal suspects in police custody, or in a custodial situation, before they are interrogated. An elicited incriminating statement by a suspect will not constitute admissible evidence unless the suspect was informed of their “Miranda rights” and made a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary waiver of those rights.
A misdemeanor is a “lesser” criminal act. Examples of misdemeanors may include: petty theft, prostitution, public intoxication, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, drug possession, DUI and other similar crimes.
Plea Bargain
A plea bargain (also plea agreement) is an agreement in a criminal case where the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter sentence.
Search and Seizure
Search and seizure is a procedure used by police or other authorities and their agents to search a person’s property and confiscate any relevant evidence to a crime they suspect has been committed. The right for citizens to be free from “unreasonable” search and seizure sometimes requires law enforcement to obtain a search warrant before engaging in any form of search and seizure. In cases where evidence is seized in a search, that evidence might be rejected by court procedures.