What is a Criminal Record?
A criminal record, also known as a rap sheet, is the collection of documents that show all the times a person has interacted with the Criminal Justice System. The content of a criminal record is chronological, and includes descriptions of the individual's earliest offense to the latest offense. Criminal records will include information on the arrest of the individual, the circumstances leading to the arrest, information on the individual arrested, their trial, the outcome of the trial should it result in a guilty verdict, incarceration, probation, parole information and more.
Information on criminal records through each of the 50 states and Washington DC can be found here:
The content of a criminal record differs according to the jurisdiction. Each state and municipality adopts its policy for creating and storing criminal records per its criminal justice system. The following reports and information can typically be found in a criminal record that has not been expunged or sealed or ones that have not been pardoned by a government official.
- Personal information like name, aliases, and birthdate
- Address and contact information
- Mugshot & fingerprint
- Physical description, including height, weight, eye and hair color, and race
- Physical identifiers like tattoos, body marks, and piercings
- Arrest records, arrest warrants, and other information on the arrest
- Background information on the alleged or convicted crime
- Trial information, including conviction, sentencing, and parole/probation information
- Inmate information, including the location and security of the detention facility, entry date, bail/bond information, and expected release date
Are Criminal Records Public?
Yes. Criminal records are presumed open to the public under the Freedom Of Information Act and State Public Record Laws. Members of the public may get the documents in this record from the record custodian without prior authorization. However, note that the record custodian varies with the jurisdiction. Many states designate the state primary law enforcement agency as the record custodian. Others integrate criminal record search with court case search and assign the clerk of courts as the record custodian for criminal records.
How Do I Obtain Criminal Records?
Interested persons who wish to look up criminal records have two options. The first is submitting an official request to the record custodian. Most record custodians have record request protocols that allow public requesters to make in-person visits, send mail requests, or conduct an online search for the criminal records of interest. Of these three means, online search is the fastest. However, in-person and mail requests for criminal records are characteristically slow. The other alternative is to use independent, third-party search services for on-demand access to criminal records. Free public criminal record checks are possible too. However, the information obtained is typically limited or incomplete.
What is an Arrest Record?
An arrest record, or arrest report, are the documents generated when law enforcement officers take an individual into custody. Generally, law enforcement will take a person into custody when the individual has an arrest warrant for a suspected crime. Law enforcement officers can make arrests without warrants if there is probable cause to take the individual into custody. In any case, the arresting officer must create an arrest report describing the circumstances surrounding the arrest. The arrest report will also contain information on the outcome of the arrest, such as court arraignment. An arrest record can be a stand-alone document or part of a person's criminal record.
Arrest records are one piece of the police records that are compiled by law enforcement. Although arrest records include police records, police records are not included in arrest records. Police records include police reports, police logs, and incident reports.
An arrest record alone cannot be used as a criminal record. This is because people arrested are not necessarily found guilty of their alleged crimes. Despite this, they may be arrested and imprisoned, meaning that both arrest records and inmate records can exist for a person eventually found not guilty. Generally, the arresting agency is the primary custodian for arrest records. In most cases, this is the police department or the sheriff's office. Either way, arrest records are considered public records and are available upon request.
Are Arrest Records Free?
Truly free arrest records do not typically exist, though many arrest records are inexpensive. Costs such as copying fees, certification fees, and authentication fees may apply to an arrest search. While some public records are free, such as census data, property information, and judgements, many can be difficult to find without the aid of government services or third party public record search websites.
Are Arrest Records Public?
Yes. Public access to arrest records is a right in most states. However, the information could be limited based on court rules. For example, arrest records that are part of an ongoing investigation may be kept private if the court decides that the record could compromise individual privacy. While the record may not be available for viewing, members of the public maintain the right to request arrest information.
How Do I Obtain Public Arrest Records?
The Freedom of Information Act and State Public Record Laws permit members of the public to look up public arrest records and even obtain a copy of the records. Most states make it possible for interested parties to obtain free arrest records on the arresting agency's website or the judiciary's website. Accessing the information on these official websites is typically free. However, the information is not always comprehensive enough to convey the circumstances surrounding the arrest.
Suppose a public requester cannot access free arrest records from these official websites. The interested requester must make an in-person visit to the physical offices of these record custodians or send a mail request. Arrest records from official record custodians are typically inexpensive. The requester need only pay a nominal fee to copy, certify, or authenticate the arrest record.
What is an Arrest Warrant?
An arrest warrant is a document signed by an authorized official of the state judiciary permitting the arrest of a named person. Generally, state laws prevent law enforcement officers from making forced entry to a residence or private property without reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing. A warrant makes an exception to this rule. The document permits law enforcement agents to arrest a person at a certain time of day and in a certain place, even if it means entering private property without suspicion of wrongdoing.
Although the content of arrest warrants vary with jurisdiction, a typical arrest warrant contains the following information:
- A description of the alleged crime
- Restrictions on how and when the arresting agency may execute the warrant
- The estimated bail amount following the arrest, if applicable
Some states possess a central database for members of the public to perform a warrant search. In case the state does not, interested parties can perform an active warrant search through the DEA Fugitive Search tool or the U.S. Marshall's Warrant Information System. It may also be possible to find this information from the local sheriff’s office in the county where the arrest warrant was issued.
What is a Bench Warrant?
A bench warrant is a court order that a judge issues for the arrest of a person who failed to appear in court. Defendants that are due to appear at trial must attend on the said date and time. Failure to do so without prior authorization will cause the presiding judge to deem the absent defendant in contempt of the court.
In executing bench warrants, the police can forcibly bring a suspected criminal to trial. Given the circumstances surrounding issuing a bench warrant, the suspected person is not eligible for release on bail or bond.
What's the Difference Between a Misdemeanor vs. Felony?
The definition varies with jurisdiction, but in most states, a felony is a crime that carries a sentence of more than one year in jail. Colloquially known as true crimes, most jurisdictions consider felony offenses as the most serious of offenses. Thus, persons convicted of felony charges typically serve a sentence in a correctional facility under the supervision of the state department of corrections or the Federal Bureau of Prisons if the felony is a federal crime. The security level at these facilities is high, given the nature of the crime and the offender. Besides jail time, non-sentencing alternatives for felonies are typically punitive, and the conditions for parole upon release are strict. Common felonies include:
- Murder in the first degree
- Human trafficking
- Multiple DUI or aggravated DWI, or drunk driving
Compared to felonies, misdemeanors are less serious crimes. In most states, misdemeanors are offenses punishable with less than one year in a county or municipal jail. If the offense is not serious enough for imprisonment, the court will impose sentencing alternatives like fines and probation.
In cases where the offense mandates jail time, the offender will serve time at lower security facilities at a county level rather than state facilities that are higher security. Some states even allow misdemeanor offenders to serve time at home under supervision. Common misdemeanors include:
- Disturbing the peace
- Petty Theft
- Offenses related to drinking and driving, such as OWI, DUI, and DWI
- Public nuisance
- Simple assault
- Traffic violations
What is the Sex Offender Registry?
The sex offender registry is a public database of individuals convicted of sex crimes in the United States. Per Megan's Law, every person convicted of a sex crime must register as a sex offender for a specified period depending on the severity of the crime. In turn, municipalities and states must maintain a searchable database of sex offenders registered or living in that jurisdiction. Likewise, the Department of Justice maintains a national sex offender registry.
Any member of the public may search an official sex offender registry for information on a suspected or convicted sex offender. A person may use information obtained from the sex offender registry to satisfy personal curiosity or protect loved ones. However, states have laws that caution against using the information obtained from the registry to harass, blackmail, or embarrass a sex offender.
Meanwhile, Megan's Law also ensures residents receive notifications when a sex offender moves into the community. The sexual assault and murder of Megan Kanka of Mercer County, New Jersey, made these measures necessary. Megan's attacker, Jesse Timmendequas, was a sex offender with two prior convictions of sex crimes against young children. Yet, the community was unaware of his status as a sex offender before he committed the despicable crime.
What is the Difference Between a DUI, OWI, and OUI?
DUI, OWI, and OUI are serious traffic violations that generally refer to the same offense. DUI means Driving Under Influence, OWI means Operating While Intoxicated, and OUI means Operating While Under The Influence. A common characteristic of these traffic violations is that the driver is in physical control of the motor vehicle and shows signs of impairment, as established by sobriety tests. Generally, states enact drunk driving laws that criminalize driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or any substance that can impair a driver’s physical or mental status.
States set measurable physical and chemical criteria for identifying an impaired driver. Generally, drunk driving laws empower law enforcement to conduct field sobriety tests or chemical tests that measure blood alcohol content (BAC) if an officer deems the driver impaired after a traffic stop. Usually, a BAC above 0.08 is the legal limit. Nevertheless, several states have zero tolerance for drunk driving. Thus, even with a BAC lower than 0.08, law enforcement can still charge a driver with drunk driving if an open alcohol container or a minor is in the motor vehicle.
Furthermore, the penalties for a DUI, OWI, or OUI are mostly the same. Most states suspend the driver’s license on the spot pending a court trial or administrative review by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Besides license suspension, guilty drivers also face other penalties, depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. The most common penalties include fines, increased insurance premiums, community service, and even jail time.
What are Inmate Records?
Inmate records are documents that contain information on offenders held in a county, state, or federal correctional facility. The Sheriff's Office or Police Department operates county jails where inmates convicted of misdemeanors serve time. The state Department of Correction operates state prisons where offenders convicted of felonies serve time. Persons convicted of federal crimes spend time in federal prisons maintained by the Federal Bureau of Prison. Administrative staff at these facilities are custodians of inmate records and jail records and often provide inmate search tools for interested parties.
Parties can also obtain public inmate records per the state's Public Records Law or the Federal Freedom of Information Act. These agencies maintain online databases of inmate records. The information in an inmate record differs with the level of jurisdiction. Nevertheless, requesters can expect to see the following information in a typical inmate record:
- Inmate's full name and all known aliases
- Mugshots and fingerprints
- Physical identifiers such as tattoos, body marking, and piercings
- Physical description, including height, weight, eye color, hair color, and race
- The date of incarceration and the expected date of release
- Any "good behavior" points awarded to the inmate used to earn early release or parole
- Details of the convicted offense(s)
What is Probation and Parole?
Probation is an alternative to incarceration. Courts place convicted offenders on probation, allowing the offender to be released back into the community without going to jail. The individuals placed on probation are typically those deemed to pose minimal risk to society. Nevertheless, there are certain restrictions to the offender's behavior and activities during the probation period. Probation officers are appointed to offenders of probation to supervise and report any delinquency. In the case of a probation violation, or breach of the terms or conditions, the court may order that the individual serve the full jail term. Under certain circumstances, the court may impose fines and stricter conditions.
Probation records contain information on court-imposed conditions that a convicted offender must meet to avoid serving jail time. Although the content of probation records differs with jurisdiction and the offender, a typical probation record contains the following information:
- The offender's personal information.
- Probation conditions, such as fines, community service, education classes, and periodic reports to an assigned officer.
- Conditions that the offender must meet to maintain probation status.
- The duration of the probation.
Parole is conditional release for inmates incarcerated in the United States. The state Board of Pardons and Paroles determines an inmate's eligibility for parole and the conditions for parole if released. Once released, the parole board assigns a parole officer to each parolee to ensure that conditions are met.
Suppose a parolee breaches the parole terms and conditions, also known as a parole violation. This is considered a parole violation, and the state's Board of Pardons and Paroles can review the violation and revoke the parole privilege if necessary. Consequently, the parolee returns to prison and serves the full sentence. Conversely, suppose the violation is not serious enough for the parolee to return to prison. The parole board may then impose additional conditions, place the offender in a "sanctions facility," or provide alternatives that may keep the person from being returned to prison.
The parole board is also the custodian of parole information. Generally, parole information is available online through the board's official website. Certain states also provide access to parole information through the state department of corrections website. Parole information retrieved from these sources will describe parole conditions, including mandatory supervision, parole period, violations, and revocations of parole privileges.
What are Juvenile Court Records?
Generally, juvenile court records are sealed criminal records not available to the public. State public record laws and the federal Freedom of Information Act prevent record custodians from releasing the information contained in a juvenile criminal record to unauthorized persons.
Juvenile court records include information regarding a juvenile or minor detained or convicted of a crime. In most states, a minor refers to persons under the age of eighteen (18). However, states like Alabama and Nebraska set the age limit at nineteen (19) years. Only authorized persons may access court and criminal records regarding individuals below this age.
To further protect minors who commit a criminal offense before the legal age, most states allow individuals who were minors at the time of the offense to apply for an expungement. The court will only grant this petition if the person has met statutory and administrative conditions for granting the expungement. For example, the person must have maintained good behavior since the arrest or conviction and must not be a party to any active investigation or trial. Contrary to public knowledge, the expungement of juvenile criminal records is not always automatic. The person named on the record must submit a formal petition and show that all conditions for expungement are in order.
What Happens During a Criminal Case?
Every state adopts a rule of criminal procedure that the criminal justice system follows to establish guilt and punish an offender for a crime. Although the events in criminal cases vary with the case and jurisdiction, a typical case goes thus:
Initial Appearance: Following an arrest, law enforcement shall bring the suspect before a judge within 24 - 48 hours. The judge shall inform the individual of the charges and assign a court-appointed attorney if the individual does not have a personal attorney.
- Bond or Bail Hearing: The court conducts a bail or bond hearing for the accused's conditional and temporary release in exchange for collateral. Generally, most courts will release an accused on bail or bond unless the person committed a serious felony, deemed a flight risk, or threat to society.
Arraignment: Here, the prosecutor, or the district attorney, files formal charges against the suspect, and the court requires the individual to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. In some cases, an offender pleads nolo contendere. From here on, the case ends in a plea deal or goes to trial.
- Plea Deals: The burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove a person is guilty of the criminal charges. However, suppose the evidence or other factors suggest a lengthy case or uncertainty for either party. Then, the prosecution and the defendant may negotiate a plea deal for the accused to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence or some other benefit.
Trial: If the accused pleads not guilty, and both parties cannot reach a plea deal, the case will proceed to trial. The time from arraignment to trial is usually 60 – 70 days, depending on the state. At the trial, the defense attorney and prosecution make arguments, call witnesses, and provide supporting pieces of evidence to convince the judge or the jury.
Sentencing: Following a trial, the judge or jury shall retire to consider the case and litigants' arguments. Then the judge or jury shall arrive at a verdict. If the judge or jury determines the offender is guilty of the charges, the offender faces punishment ranging from imprisonment to community service, fines, and restitution.
Appeals: An individual has the option of appeal if there is cause to believe an erroneous verdict or unfair trial. The appellate court in the state handles such appeals. In most states, this is the court of appeals. In many states, the appeal goes directly to the state Supreme Court or, in rare cases, the Supreme Court of the United States.
Designated court officials record and document the events that happen at every stage of the court trial. The documents created throughout the case make up the court record.
What are Criminal Conviction Records?
Criminal conviction records are documents that detail events leading from complaint or arrest to the formal conviction of an individual in a trial court. These records are commonly known as "arrest and conviction records" by most state criminal justice institutions. Like all public records, criminal conviction records are available from the clerk of court in the court where a judge.
Court clerks generally maintain physical copies of the criminal conviction records. Criminal conviction records can be obtained in-person or by mail request, but these means are not always convenient or fast. Thus, most record custodians also store digital copies of criminal conviction records on online databases.
Criminal Records Dictionary
Acquittal: When the court hearing a case, formally absolves the defendant from blame in regards to the charges brought against them. The defendant is found not guilty.
Arraignment: The first formal court appearance in a criminal case, in which the defendant is formally required to plead either guilty or not guilty, and future plans for trial and/or sentencing is set by the court.
Arrest Records: This is a record of all arrests-or stop and detainments-made by law enforcement of a criminal for committing a specific offense. This record typically offers the criminal charges owned by the arrest, the law enforcement arresting the individual, and the jurisdiction in which the arrest was made.
Arrest Report: When a person is put under arrest for suspicion of a crime, a report is filed. This is sometimes called a police report or an “arrest report”. It details all the pertinent data related to this apprehension-to include the on-scene police officer’s thoughts, impressions, and speculations regarding the criminal and crime scene.
Arrest Warrant: When a court formally orders for the immediate arrest of an individual pertaining to a criminal case.
Bail: Bail is the monetary collateral requirement put forth by a court in return for the arrested individual’s ability to leave jail prior to their hearing or trial in exchange for a promise that the arrested individual show up to all future mandatory court appearances.
Bail Bond: When an arrested individual cannot afford to pay their bail amount to get out of jail, they often contact third parties that loan them the bail money-with interest-and this is what is called: a bail bond.
Burden of proof: The duty of a court of law and it’s jury is to prove without a doubt that an alleged criminal is guilty. Otherwise the alleged criminal is considered innocent. This means the burden of proof falls to the prosecution. They must prove that a person is guilty.
Bench Warrant: When a court orders for the immediate arrest and retrieval of a particular entity for appearance before a court for a case which is either directly or indirectly related to them.
Charges Dismissed: A court or the prosecutor can suggest that the criminal charges brought against a specific individual be dismissed-or dropped-according to a variety of criminal court reasons, such as there not being enough evidence to continue or because the criminal’s due process rights were violated.
Charges Filed: Criminal charges are filed against a particular individual either at the time of or soon after arrest.
City Check: This is a kind of online search offered at an online criminal records search site which offers valuable information on particular city areas for those seeking it. Common areas of detailed information offered the seeker are the city: populations, race, education levels, employment/occupations, incomes, and crime.
Conviction: A criminal conviction occurs when the defendant in a criminal case is found guilty by the court overseeing the case after reviewing the pertinent probable cause and applicable evidence.
Crime: An act which is in direct violation of the city, county, state, or federal laws available.
Crime Classifications: According to the criminal justice system, there are felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions-of which there are further classifications of crime-determined by the serious nature of the crime and the amount of harm incurred as a result.
Criminal Charges: Charges are brought against an individual for the commission of a crime at the time of, or shortly after the arrest of the said individual.
Criminal Justice: This term refers to the topic of criminal law, meaning how crime is processed, sentenced, and penalized; according to the jurisdictional laws in place to acquit the innocent and punish the guilty.
Criminal Law: The practice and regulation of formally evaluating those accused of criminal offenses for the purposes of acquittal from blame or applicable punishment.
Criminal Public Records: Every crime and arrest has a particular criminal record assigned to it at all jurisdictions of the criminal justice system. These are called: criminal public records.
Criminal Records Classification: Criminal records-during the processing of crimes and incidents through the criminal court and law enforcement system-are necessarily subject to a classification system. This system organizes criminal records according to the nature of the crime and the jurisdiction in which the criminal is processed. It is the whole foundation for knowing where to search for a particular individual’s criminal record.
Criminal Records Check A type of search that is conducted through an online check service that resources databases of the criminal records-at various jurisdictional levels-to check if there is a match in the databases they have, and if more criminal information can be available to the person running the search.
Criminal Records Search: When a person seeks to uncover the potential criminal history of a particular individual and the nature of this history in the criminal justice system.
Defense: The side in a criminal court case that is defending the charges against them to include the defendant and their particular means of legal counsel.
Defendant: The person who is accused by the plaintiff is the defendant. In civil cases, this is the person against whom the plaintiff brings suit. In a criminal case, it is the alleged criminal.
Due Process of Law: The due process of the law affords every individual the right to be treated with certain rights as evidenced in the reading of Miranda Rights-as dictated by the federal government in order for the processing of an offender to be fair.
Employment Check: Someone may undertake a search for a person’s criminal records prior to hiring them for employment; this is an employment check.
Evidence: The data and witness accounts to be used as proof that a particular person committed the offense in question.
Expungement: Expungement occurs when data contained in a criminal record is deleted, sealed, or held from all future public view-according to certain jurisdictional law and/or case specifics.
FCRA Compliance: The Federal Credit Reporting Act was designed to protect consumers from predatory business tactics. Originally enacted in 1970 to help consumers fix errors in their credit reports, the law now also applies to the act of seeking a background check, particularly when the check is performed by an employer. To this end, employers must notify potential employees of any background check performed on the employee before the process begins.
Felony: Within the three basic classifications of crime, a felony refers to a crime that is the most serious of the three-allowing for the punishment of at least one year in prison and/or fines, probation, and any restitution required. Within the felony classification, crimes are ordered in classes of severity in the following graduation from most severe to less: Felony Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, Class F, Class G, Class H, and Class I.
Infraction: Within the three basic classifications of crime, an infraction refers to the least serious of law violations-typically punishable by minor fines, etc.
Inmate Search: An inmate search is a specialized type of criminal search, that checks for information related to a person’s potential incarceration terms. Searches for this kind of information will offer details on the person’s time spent in jail/prison, what crime they were incarcerated for, as well as other pertinent details.
Jail Sentence: The term as set forth by a criminal court with regards to a criminal found guilty of a specific crime-to-be served in a county jail or state/federal prison, respectively.
Juvenile Criminal Records: Criminal records of persons who have committed crimes or been arrested by law enforcement, prior to being a certain age. These records are often expunged as a juvenile is not often deemed worthy of being old enough to make an informed decision.
Misdemeanor: Within the three main classifications of crime, misdemeanors are less serious than felonies, and are punishable with fines and/or jail/prison time up to one year. Misdemeanors, like felonies, are further categorized according to the severity of the crime committed into Classes A, B, and C-with Class A being the most serious and Class C misdemeanors being the least serious.
Online Criminal Check: A common way that people go about seeking criminal records is by using an online check. These online services check thousands of database records for criminal records listed at various criminal justice and law enforcement resources.
Parole: A term which refers to a criminal being released from their jail/prison sentence, and offered supervised reintroduction to society.
Petit Jury: Also known as a trial jury, this group, usually made up of 12 people, is responsible for hearing presented facts and forming a unanimous judgement against an alleged criminal. In federal variants the number of jurors can be as little as 6.
Plea Bargain: In a criminal case, the defense may take a lesser charge and/or punishment as related to the charge in question, in exchange for a guilty plea.
Police Interrogation: A person suspected of being involved in a crime may be questioned by law enforcement prior to/after being arrested-with certain stipulations apparent.
Police Records: A popular form of record that people seek, which discusses various steps in the arresting, questioning, and surveying of the respective jurisdictional law enforcement in relation to a specific crime and/or potential criminal.
Preliminary Hearing: An appearance in front of a court which determines initially, if there is enough evidence for a trial if the defendant has already pleaded not guilty.
Prison Records: These records report details of a criminal’s term in jail and/or prison, to include: length of term, name, and location of the prison/jail, and any other supporting details.
Prison Term: The amount of time set forth by a criminal court that a convicted criminal must be detained in prison/jail for a crime committed.
Probation: Probation is typical, a part of every convicted criminal’s punishment; and is a means of supervising and rehabilitating the criminal, as they conduct life outside of prison. It can be a punishment in exchange for prison or for a lesser term.
Probation Community Service: A form of being rehabilitated back into society as well as serving a punishment term-that allows the convicted criminal to live on his/her own terms, and serve his/her community simultaneously.
Probation Court: A type of court which deals exclusively with dealings of probation, to include both terms of probation as well as probation violations.
Probation Officer: The jurisdictional employee that mediates between the court’s probation terms for a criminal and the criminal him/herself, to ensure the obligations set forth by court probation is served.
Probation Violation: When a convicted criminal ordered to certain terms of probation, fails to serve the probation obligations correctly.
Prosecution: The act of a person being formally charged and processed for a specific crime.
Restitution: As a part of sentencing, many courts will require that a convicted criminal pay the victim of the crime a certain amount of money or value to apologize for the damages incurred. This is called restitution.
Search Criminal Records: The search for criminal records information is one that a person undertakes through an online and physical search at various information repositories-within the law enforcement and criminal justice system-which hold the criminal records for the individual in question. The person can approach a search for this information with or without the help of a third party service.
Sentencing: The court overseeing a particular criminal case will-after hearing both the prosecution and defendant’s side-rule that the criminal is guilty. The guilty party will then be subject to punishment in the form of fines, jail time, and/or restitution.
Sex Offender Check: This is a type of online search run through an online check service, which has access to database information on registered sex offenders. Since all sex offenders are required to register with their community and state-once released from jail/prison or once moved to a new community to work or live-these registries are public information. Online check services run checks to locate sex offenders in a given area-as supplied by the seeker.
Sex Offender Records: Popular means of criminal records, in which sexual crimes of particular individuals are listed with details to include: full name, address, a seriousness of the crime, etc-as stipulated by jurisdiction.
Sex Offender Registry: Under Federal Law, every sex offender is required to register in a publically accessible database, every few years as well as every time they move or change jobs.
Statute of limitations: This refers to the time in which a lawsuit is able to be filed. The deadline can change depending on the jurisdiction, and the type of civil or criminal case.
Traffic Violation: Traffic violations can be both breaches of the law, when a person is driving or not, and are subject to fines, license suspension/revocation, and possible jail time.
Trial: The court setting in which the defense and the prosecution present their sides of a criminal case for the review of a judge and/or jury, to determine innocence or guilt.
Verdict: This term represents the decision of a trial jury or petit jury that determines the guilt or innocence of a defendant. It almost always determines the final outcome of the case.
Warrant: A warrant is a court order that relates to a possible criminal and/or their belongings.
Witness: Someone who has seen or had access to evidence that supports a particular criminal case.