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Important Terms To Know When Facing Criminal Charges

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Facing your very first criminal charge may be a scary and confusing experience for you, and during this time it would be helpful for you to understand some basic principles of criminal law. To help you understand what to expect, here are some important terms of criminal law that you should understand as you begin preparing to face your charges.


You may have heard the term "prosecutor" before but may never have understood what this is. The prosecutor in your case is the person that represents the state in the case against you. Every court case has two parties, and one is generally the prosecutor. The other is the defendant, if you are facing criminal charges, you are the defendant. You are basically competing in your case against the prosecutor.

Bail bond

The second term you should understand is a bail bond. When arrested, a person typically has the right to get out of jail while awaiting trial by paying the stated bail amount. If you can pay this with cash, the jail will let you out when you give them the money. If you cannot pay it with cash, you could use a bail bond, which is basically a loan from a bail bond agent. You do not have to repay this loan, though, as long as you follow through with your criminal case by doing what you are told to do.

Plea bargain

You should also understand what a plea bargain is, as you might be faced with the decision whether to accept the plea bargain offered to you or not. A plea bargain is a deal that your lawyer and the prosecutor come up with together. Your lawyer obviously fights for the best deal for you, while the prosecutor fights for the best outcome for the state. Through a plea bargain, you can settle your case without a trial, and you will likely receive a charge that is not as severe as the original criminal charge you were facing.


If you decide against taking the plea bargain and have to go through a trial, the most important thing to know about the trial is what the verdict is. The verdict is the end result of the case that states whether the court finds you guilty or not guilty.

These are four important terms you will hear during your case. If you have questions about these terms or anything else about your case, call a criminal lawyer in your area.