criminal law and procedure

approach

Approach refers to moving toward the bench, a witness, or the jury box in court. An attorney may approach the bench in order to have a conversation with the judge and opposing counsel off the record and/or out of the jury's earshot. An...

approach the witness

Approach the witness refers to when an attorney moves towards a witness in order to show them a document or exhibit. See approach. In some jurisdictions, an attorney must request to approach a witness; e.g. "may I approach the witness?"...

Armed Career Criminal Act (1984)

Also known as the “ACCA”. A federal law imposing a minimum prison sentence of fifteen years on criminals with at least three violent felony convictions.

arraignment

Definition

The first step in criminal proceeding where the defendant is brought in front of the court to hear the charges and enter a plea.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. County of Riverside v. McLaughlin 500 U.S. 44 (1991) and Godinez v....

arrest

An arrest is using legal authority to deprive a person of his or her freedom of movement. An arrest is generally made with an arrest warrant. An arrest may be made without a warrant if probable cause and exigent circumstances are presented at the...

arrest warrant

An arrest warrant is a document issued by a judge or magistrate that authorizes the police to take someone accused of a crime into custody. An arrest warrant is issued by the competent authority upon a showing of probable cause, which means a...

arson

Definition

A crime at common law, originally defined as the malicious burning of the dwelling of another. Depending upon the jurisdiction, the intentional setting of a fire to a building, or else the intentional setting of a fire to a building where...

assault and battery

Assault and battery is a modern legal term which combines assault with the separate charge of battery. Assault refers to the wrong act of causing someone to reasonably fear imminent harm. This means that the fear must be something a...

attempt

Definition

Even if a defendant fails to fully complete a crime, he or she can be charged with attempt, i.e. in the case of an uncompleted or inchoate offense. While the requirements for proving attempt vary by jurisdiction, generally specific intent...

attest

Attest means to testify or confirm that something is true, genuine, or authentic. Some common usages of the term “attest” in a legal sense include:

In the context of evidence law, cases such as this one from Ohio, explain...

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