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Criminal Defense Lawyer Terms To Know

If you're just beginning to study law and criminology so that you can become a criminal defense lawyer, it may seem that there is an entire language of unfamiliar terms and phrases. However, with a little effort and a touch of memorization, these words and phrases will soon become second nature to you.

Below are just a few words and phrases you'll want to familiarize yourself with so you can go to the head of the class:

Defendant. The person being charged with a crime.

Plaintiff. The party bringing the case, usually the state, city of federal government in a criminal case.

Appeal. The legal request of a higher court that it review and reverse the ruling of a lower court.

Assault. The threat of the use of force on another person.

Battery. The act of force against another person, resulting in harm.

Expungement. The act of legally sealing a court record from public view.

Extortion. Obtaining money or property by threatening a person or their loved ones.

Fraud. Knowingly misrepresenting the truth to entice another to act to his or her detriment. Sub categories include criminal fraud, bank fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud and insurance fraud.

Homicide. The act killing of one person by another. This is a generic term and differs from murder in that a homicide can be in self-defense. Sub categories include vehicular homicide, criminal homicide, justifiable homicide and negligent homicide.

Manslaughter. The killing of another human being without any advanced thought or planning.

Involuntary manslaughter. The unintentional killing of another human being.

Murder. The act of killing another human being with malice aforethought.

Money laundering. The federal crime of running illegally-gotten money through legitimate accounts so it is difficult to trace.

Pandering. The act of recruiting or finding customers for a prostitute.

Perjury. The act of deliberately making false or misleading statements while under oath.

RICO Act. The Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, enacted in 1970, seeks to combat organized crime by imposing additional penalties on those who repeatedly participate in or profit from certain types of crimes.

Rape. Sexual activity with a person without their consent.

Statutory rape. Sexual activity with a person under the age of consent (with or without the person's consent.)

Theft. The act of permanently taking another person's property without their permission.

Writ. An order from a higher court to a lower court.

Becoming a successful criminal defense lawyer requires having excellent verbal and written skills. Start on the right foot by learning the basic terms you'll need before you go to that first class.

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