In a previous post, we took a closer look at some legal terms every person should know. Today we round out your basic legal knowledge with a new batch of essential terms.
A written statement of facts made under oath.
To appeal a legal determination means to request a higher court to review. So, for example, if you lose your case in a trial court, you may ask an appellate court to review the decision. Appellate courts rarely go over the details of the case again. Instead, they usually focus on errors of procedure.
A physical act that consists in a harmful or offensive contact with another person. Battery is usually classified as a misdemeanor, but it can become a felony if the person committing the battery intends to cause a serious injury to the victim.
Civil law involves two private parties. Think, for example, of defamation or breach of contract. By contrast, criminal law deals with the offenses made against the state or federal government, even if the victim is an individual.
This is one of many Latin phrases often found in the legal world, and it means “the body of the crime.” In short, it refers to the material proof that a crime has been committed. Although in some cases it can be a literal body (a corpse), it can also refer to other types of evidence, like stolen property in a theft case.
As we mentioned earlier, the main difference between criminal and civil law is that criminal law involves offenses against the state. With this background in mind, it makes sense to have a representative of the state be part of the court proceedings. That’s precisely the job of the District Attorney (often called D.A), a prosecuting lawyer who represents a U.S. state in a local government area.
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