• CRIMINAL LAW DEFINITIONS

    Plead: This means if you have decided to tell the court you are guilty or not guilty.

    Guilty: This is telling the court or the court finding you have committed the crime or violation you are accused of.

    Jury: A Jury is 12 people who hear the facts of the case and decided if you are guilty or not. These people are from the local community and are not associated with the court. They are picked at random.

    Jury Trial: This is when a jury decides if you are guilty or not guilty.

    Bench Trial: This is when your case is decided by a judge.

    Jury Waiver: This is a paper you sign that says you are giving up your right to a trial by jury.

    PD: Public Defender: This is a lawyer for indigent clients. All people that are accused of a crime that carries jail time have a right to an attorney. Public defenders are appointed by court for people who qualify because they cannot afford a real attorney.

    SA: States Attorney: These are the prosecutors. They work for the state and are in charge of handling their case. They have the burden of proof.

    Burden of Proof: The hypothetical amount of evidence to find someone guilty of a crime. The burden in a criminal case is beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: This is the burden of proof in a criminal case. There is no standard definition from the court but the best way to put it is that there can be no reasonable doubt of the defendant's innocence.

    Misdemeanor: This is a crime that is punishable with 1 to 364 days in jail.

    Felony: This is a crime that can be punishable with anywhere from 1 year in jail on up.

    Class X: This is a felony that carries a higher sentence.

    UUW: Unlawful Use of a Weapon this is a felony.

    DUI: Driving Under the Influence. This is also known as drunk driving.

    Aggravated: This is where a normal crime can be made more serious by where it was committed, how it was committed and to whom it was committed.

    Expunge: This means to have something taken off your record. In Illinois it should be as if the thing never happened.

    Seal: Some things that can not be expunged can be sealed. Sealing means that the record is still there but it is not accessible to the public.

    CD: Conditional Discharge. This means that you have been convicted and the conditions of you being not sentenced to jail is that you must not get in further legal trouble and follow the conditions set forth.

    Supervision: This means that you are under the courts watch and that as long as you follow the courts conditions you will be terminated satisfactory. Supervision is not a conviction but if you do not follow the courts conditions it can turn into one.

    Probation: This means you are not going to serve jail time, but if you are violated you could serve jail time. Also you under the courts watch and as long as you do what they tell you and you do not pick-up a new case you will not get a VOP.

    VOP: Violation of Probation: If you do not do what the court tells you or you get a new criminal case while on probation you will get a violation. If you have been violated they can send you to prison.

    Terminated Satisfactory: This means you can have finished you time under the courts watch satisfactory. This will reflect well if you get into trouble again.

    Terminated Unsatisfactory: This means that you have not completed what the court has told you to do and they are releasing you from the courts watch. This has negative consequences such as not being able to expunge the crime off your record. Also if you get terminated Unsatisfactory it is harder to get a good plea next time.