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Capital Offense

cap·it·al of·fense

/ˈkapitl/ əˈfens/


Refers to crimes which can be punished by death. Only certain states use the Death Penalty.

The man faced the death penalty because he committed murder, which is a capital offense in Arizona.

Case File

Case Fi·le

/kās/ fīl/


A full collection of all documents filed in court during any case.

Class Action

Class Ac·tion



Refers to a lawsuit where one or multiple members of a group (or class) of inpiduals sue on behalf of the whole class. It is the district court’s duty to determine whether or not the claims of the class contain questions of fact or law before the suit is permitted to proceed as a class action lawsuit.

Everyone involved in the class action received a settlement check for the case.





Property that is used as security to service a debt.

The court document stated that if payment was not made, assets might be taken as collateral.

Synonyms: security, surety, guarantee, guaranty, insurance, indemnity





Civil lawsuits begin with a complaint which is a list of details provided by a plaintiff referring to the crimes committed by the defendant.

The plaintiff filed a complaint yesterday,so the defendant will need to obtain council.

Synonyms: accusal, accusation, allegation, bill of indictment, case, case for the prosecution, charge, citation, count, crimination, criticism, denouncement, denunciation, expostulation, first pleading, formal allegation, gravamen of a charge, grievance, incrimination, indictment

Consecutive Sentence

con·sec·u·tive sen·tence



When an inpidual must serve two or more sentences back-to-back. For example, one five-year sentence and two four-year sentences means the inpidual must serve 13 years in prison.

The man was sentenced to a consecutive sentence of two years and five years, so he will be in prison for seven years.





When a defendant is found guilty of a crime.

The defendant was found guilty and now has a conviction on his record.

Synonyms: declaration of guilt, sentence, judgment





Refers to the attorneys taking part in a case; can also mean the legal advice provided by attorneys.

The counsel felt confident that they could win their case.

Synonyms: lawyer, advocate, attorney, attorney-at-law, counselor

* These terms are general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Different states may define terms differently. These terms are not designed to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your state who is familiar with how your jurisdiction defines key legal terms that are important in your particular matter.

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