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Resource Center: Glossary of Terms

As an added service to you, KnowMyHire.com has compiled a list of terms you might be unfamiliar with which will enable you to fully understand our detailed reports.

Choose a letter to quickly jump to its accompanying section:

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   P   R   S   T   U   W   Y  

A

Abduction - Illegally carrying or enticing away of a person.

ABWIK - Assault & battery with the intent to kill.

Abstraction - Taking away with the intent to harm or deceive.

Accessory before the fact - A person who, though not present during the commission of a felony, is guilty of having aided and abetted another, who committed the felony.

Accessory after the fact - A person who knowingly conceals or assists another who has committed a felony.

Accomplice - Someone who assists in the commission of a crime and, unlike a mere accessory, is usually present or directly aids in the crime.

Acquittal - A person who has been charged with a crime is found innocent of the charge; finding of not guilty.

Adjudication - A judicial decision or sentence.

Affray - A brawl or disturbance which is not premeditated.

Aggravated Assault - Any of various assaults that are more serious than a common assault, especially one performed with an intent to commit a crime.

Aiding & Abetting - To aid or incite another to commit a crime.

Alias (AKA) - Also Known As: Various names used by a person, other than the given name, that may or may not be an attempt to hide his/her identity.

Alien - A resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization.

Armed Robbery - An aggravated form of robbery in which the defendant is armed with a dangerous weapon.

Arraign - To bring a criminal defendant before the court at which time the charges are presented to him/her and the opportunity is given to enter a plea. A determination of whether the party has a lawyer is made, amount of bail is set, and future appearances are scheduled.

Arraignment - Procedure whereby the accused is brought before the court to plead to the criminal charge against him in the indictment of information.

Arson - The crime of intentionally and unlawfully burning real or personal property belonging to another. A death resulting from arson is murder.

Appropriate - To take without permission or consent; seize; expropriate.

Assault - The threat or attempt to strike another, whether successful or not, provided the target is aware of the danger. The assaulter must be reasonably capable of carrying through the attack.

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B

Bad Check - Knowing and intentionally writing and/or negotiating a check that is dishonored on presentation because of insufficient funds.

Bail - An amount of money set by a judge to ensure the return of the accused party at subsequent proceedings.

Bail Forfeiture - Defendant loses bail and is found guilty of the offense charged.

Battery - The actual intentional striking of someone, with intent to harm, or in a "rude and insolent manner" even if the injury is slight. It is often coupled with "assault" (which does not require actual touching) in "assault and battery."

Bench Trial - A trial by a judge, without the presence of a jury.

Blackmail - The crime of threatening to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful or damaging facts (or rumors) about a person to the public, family, spouse or associates unless paid off to not carry out the threat.

Bond - A written guaranty or pledge which is purchased from a bonding company or by an individual as security to guarantee some form of performance, including showing up in court, or other contract terms ("performance bond"). If there is a failure, then the bonding company will make good up to the amount of the bond.

Bond Forfeiture - Results when court appearances are missed by an accused individual. Once a person charged with a crime misses the court date, a bench warrant is issued for their arrest. The court also states a forfeiture date in which either the charged individual must be located or the bail amount must be paid.

Breaking & Entering - Two of the elements necessary to constitute a burglary. The "breaking and entering" necessary to constitute a burglary may be any act of physical force, however slight, by which obstruction to entrance is removed.

Bribery - Offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting something valuable for the purpose of influencing the action of an official in the discharge of his or her public or legal duties.

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C

Capital Punishment - The penalty of death, for the commission of a crime.

Case - A suit or action at law; cause.

Charge - An allegation that an individual has committed a specific offense.

Civil - Suits concerned with the rights and duties of individuals.

Coercion - The use of physical force or intimidation to compel an individual to commit an act against his or her will.

Concurrent Sentences - Two or more sentences served simultaneously.

Consecutive Sentences - Two or more sentences served one after the other.

Conspiracy - Two or more parties participating in an unlawful act.

Continuance - Postponement of an action relating to a case to a later specified date.

Controlled Substance - A drug or chemical substance whose possession and use are regulated under the Controlled Substances Act.

Conversion - Unauthorized taking of property belonging to another party.

Conviction - The result of a criminal trial which ends in a judgment or sentence and the accused is guilty as charged.

Counterfeit - To falsify, deceive, or fraud; a copy or imitation of something that is intended to be taken as authentic and genuine in order to deceive another.

Credit Card Fraud - Fraudulent use of a credit card by an individual to purchase a product with intent to avoid the payment of such.

Crimes Against Nature - Sexual deviations which were considered crimes of common law and have been carried over by statute; include sodomy and bestiality.

Criminal Mischief - A crime against property; the willful damaging of another person's property. This crime includes throwing rocks through windows, painting graffiti, slashing tires, or other acts of vandalism.

Criminal Plea - The defendant's response to a criminal charge, i.e., guilty, not guilty, no contest.

Cumulative Sentence - Separate consecutive terms of imprisonment imposed upon a defendant who has been convicted of two or more distinct offenses; any term of imprisonment that becomes effective subsequent to the expiration of a prior one.

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D

Deadly Weapon - Any instrument that is capable of producing death or serious bodily injury; an instrument may be intrinsically deadly.

Defraud - To make a misrepresentation of an existing material fact, knowing it to be false or making it recklessly without regard to whether it is true or false, intending for someone to rely on the misrepresentation and under circumstances in which such person does rely on it to his or her damage.

Degree (1st, 2nd, 3rd) - Classifications assigned to crimes for determining punishment and severity. First degree is more serious than third degree.

Discharge - To release, as from legal confinement in prison or the military service, or from some legal obligation such as jury duty, or the payment of debts by a person who is bankrupt.
Dismissal- An order of judgment finally disposing of an action, suit, motion, etc., without trial of the issues involved.

Dismissed - To remove a case out of the court or to terminate a case without a complete trial.

Disorderly Conduct - An offense involving disturbance of the public peace and decency.

Disposed/Disposition - The result of a judicial proceeding by withdrawal, settlement, order, judgment or sentence.

DUI - Driving under the influence

DWAI - Driving while ability impaired

DWLS - Driving while license suspended

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E

Embezzlement - The fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.

Expunge - The authorized act of physically destroying information, in files, computers or other depositories.

Extortion - Obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

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F

FCRA - Fair Credit Reporting Act

Federal Courts - The courts of the United States

Felony - Crimes which are punishable by imprisonment for more than one year or death.

Fraud - A false representation of a matter of fact-whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of what should have been disclosed-that deceives and is intended to deceive another so that the individual will act upon it to her or his legal injury.

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G

Grand Jury - A panel of citizens that is convened by a court to decide whether it is appropriate for the government to indict (proceed with a prosecution against) someone suspected of a crime.

Grand Larceny - A category of larceny - the offense of illegally taking the property of another - in which the value of the property taken is greater than that set for petit larceny.

Guilty - Sufficient evidence has been presented to prove that the defendant has committed the offense charged.

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H

Habitual Offender - One who repeatedly commits the same crime. After three convictions, the defendant may be charged with habitual offender.

Hijacking - To take control of another person's vehicle by intimidation of force.

Homicide - The killing of another human being.

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I

Illegal Alien - A non-citizen, who has not been given permission by immigration authorities to reside in the country in which he is living.

Illicit - Not permitted or allowed; prohibited or unlawful.

Indictment - A written accusation charging that an individual named therein has committed an act or omitted to do something that is punishable by law.

Injunction - A court order that prohibits an individual from doing a specific act during a given time.

Intent - A determination to perform a particular act or to act in a particular manner for a specific reason.

Intoxication - A state in which a person's normal capacity to act or reason is inhibited by alcohol or drugs.

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J

Judgment - A decision by a court or other tribunal that resolves a controversy and determines the rights and obligations of the parties.

Jury - A prescribed number of persons selected according to law and sworn to make findings of fact.

Jury Trial - The trial of an issue of fact before a jury.

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K

Kidnapping - Crime of seizing, confining, abducting, or carrying away a person by force or fraud, often to subject him or her to involuntary servitude, in an attempt to demand a ransom, or in furtherance of another crime.

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L

Larceny - The unauthorized taking and removal of the personal property of another by a person who intends to permanently deprive the owner of it.

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M

Manslaughter - The unlawful killing of one human by another without express or implied intent to do injury.

Mayhem - The offense of willfully maiming or crippling a person.

Misdemeanor - Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine, penalty, forfeiture, or imprisonment other than in a penitentiary.

Mistrial - A trial which has been terminated and declared void prior to the reaching of verdict due to extraordinary circumstance, serious prejudicial misconduct or hung jury - it does not result in a judgment for any party but merely indicates a failure of trial.

Murder - The unlawful killing of another human being without justification or excuse.

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N

Neglect - An omission to do or perform some work, duty, or act.

Negligence - The breach of an obligation (duty) to act with care, or the failure to act as a reasonable and prudent person would under similar circumstances.

No Bill - A term that the foreman of the grand jury writes across the face of a bill of indictment to indicate that the criminal charges alleged therein against a suspect have not been sufficiently supported by the evidence presented before it to warrant his or her criminal prosecution.

No Contest - A plea by the defendant who does not contest to the charge.

Nolle Prosequi (Nol Pros) - Charges which are dropped by prosecution.

Not Guilty - A plea by the accused in a criminal action that denies every essential element of the offense charged.

NWNI - Negotiating worthless non-negotiable instrument

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P

Parole - The release of a prisoner whose term has not expired on condition of sustained lawful behavior that is subject to regular monitoring by an officer of the law for a set period of time.

Perjury - Criminal offense of making false statements while under oath.

Plea - A formal response by the defendant to the affirmative assertions of the plaintiff in a civil case or to the charges of the prosecutor in a criminal case.

Plea Bargain - To make an agreement in which a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor in return drops more serious charges.

Premeditation - Forethought; the giving of consideration to a matter beforehand "for some length of time, however short."

Prison - A public building used for the confinement of people convicted of serious crimes.

Probable Cause - Apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime.

Probation - A sentence whereby a convict is released from confinement but is still under court supervision.

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R

Racketeering - An organized conspiracy to commit extortion.

Rape - Unlawful sexual activity, usually sexual intercourse, carried out forcibly or under threat of injury and against the will of the victim.

Receiving Stolen Property - The offense of acquiring goods with the knowledge that they have been stolen, extorted, embezzled, or unlawfully taken in any manner.

Reckless Disregard - An act or conduct destitute of heed or concern for consequences; especially foolishly heedless of danger.

Reckless - Careless, heedless, inattentive to duty.

Remand - A higher court may remand a case to a lower court so that the lower court will take a certain action ordered by the higher court.

Resident Alien - Person who has been admitted to permanent resident status but has not been granted citizenship.

Resisting Arrest - Common law offense involving physical efforts to oppose a lawful arrest.

Restitution - In the context of criminal law, state programs under which an offender is required, as a condition of his or her sentence, to repay money or donate services to the victim or society.

Restraining Order - An order granted without notice or hearing, demanding the preservation of the status quo until a hearing can be held to determine the propriety of injunctive relief, temporary or permanent.

RICO Act - A set of federal laws specifically designed to punish criminal activity by business enterprises.

Robbery - The taking of money or goods in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, by force or intimidation.

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S

Sealing of Records - To close a case file from public scrutiny - in instances of youthful offenders and acquittal, sealing orders are issued by the court to prevent the public from obtaining information on the cases.

Sentence - The punishment ordered by a court to be inflicted upon a person convicted of a crime, usually either a non-custodial sentence such as probation and/or a fine, or a custodial sentence such as a term of years of imprisonment or a number of months in a county jail.

Slander - Oral communication of false statements injurious to a person's reputation.

Solicitation - Urgent request, plea, or entreaty; enticing, asking. The criminal offense of urging someone to commit an unlawful act.

Statutory Rape - Sexual intercourse by an adult with a person below a statutorily designated age.

Stricken - To expunge.

Suspended Sentence - A sentence given after the formal conviction of a crime that the convicted person is not required to serve.

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T

Theft - A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person's consent.

Trespass - An unlawful intrusion that interferes with one's person or property.

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U

Under the Influence of Intoxication of Drugs/Liquor - Having consumed alcohol or other drugs, to the degree that mental and motor skills are impaired.

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W

Warrant - A written order directing the arrest of a person issued by an authority - warrants are "issued," "executed" or "canceled".

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Y

Youthful Offender - Term generally designating one who is for purposes of sentencing, older than a juvenile but younger than an adult.

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