Simple English definitions for legal terms

criminal case

Read a random definition: two-round voting

A quick definition of criminal case:

A criminal case is when someone is accused of breaking the law and a prosecutor tries to prove that they did it. The person accused is called the defendant and they are considered innocent until the prosecutor can prove they are guilty. If the defendant is found guilty, they may have to go to jail, pay a fine, or do community service.

A more thorough explanation:

A criminal case is a legal proceeding in which a prosecutor charges a person with committing a crime. This type of case is brought by the government, either at the federal, state, or local level. Criminal cases usually begin after a person is arrested and informed of their charges at a hearing called an indictment.

In a criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court. If the court finds the defendant guilty, they may face a sentence under criminal law, which can include imprisonment, fines, community service, or a combination of these punishments.

Example 1: John is charged with stealing a car. The prosecutor presents evidence in court to prove that John committed the crime. If the court finds John guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, he may be sentenced to prison or ordered to pay a fine.

Example 2: Sarah is accused of assault. She is arrested and brought to court, where the prosecutor presents evidence against her. If the court finds Sarah guilty, she may be sentenced to community service or ordered to pay a fine.

These examples illustrate how criminal cases work. In both cases, the defendant is charged with a crime and must go to court to defend themselves. The prosecutor presents evidence to prove that the defendant committed the crime, and the court decides whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. If the defendant is found guilty, they may face punishment under criminal law.

criminal calendar | criminal complaint


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