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The process of bankruptcy begins with the filing of a petition with the bankruptcy court. The petition must include the names and addresss of all of the creditors, a statement of the debtor's income and expenses and other finanical information. Once the petition if received by the court, the clerk of the court will mail a notice of a bankruptcy hearing to the debtor, the debtor's attorney and all creditors.

Many hearings are scheduled several weeks after the bankkruptcy petition is filed with the court. The court appoints a person called a trustee, who oversees the hearing and asks questions to the debtor about the finanical situation and the factors that caused the debtor not be be able to pay the bills.

Creditors have the right to appear at the hearing and can also ask questions to the debtor. Creditors also have the right to object to the bankruptcy. If no objections are made, the debtor can expect to receive a discharge after the expiration of sixty days from the hearing. The order of discharge is mailed by the clerk of the bankruptcy court.

Facts You should know about Debt Management Companies

Many of the payment plans are not unworkable. Get the facts before you accept a creditor counselor's suggestion that bankruptcy is not your beest course of action. Credit counseling companies works for your creditors, not for you. They're paid by the credtiors that are trying to collect from you.

Consumer credtior counseling is being paid a percentage of the payments that you pay to them.

There income comes from the money that you are hoping to be paid to your creditors.

Debt management company's nonprofit status does not mean they are not making money at your expense. Many debt management services describs themselves as a nonprofit organization when in fact they are in business for a profit.

The money you pay to them that you think is going to your creditors are being used to pay their rent, salarys and expeneses.

It is easy to set up a nonprofit counseling agency and use the counselors to sell the services of a related for-profit company."

Debtors are led to believe that debt managment companies have the ability to have finance charges reduced or waived which often is not the case.

Debtors who participate in a debt managment program often will have that fact reported on their credit record which can impair a credit record. Your credit record will most likley be better after several years after obtaining a bankruptcy discharge than entering into a many month credit program. Shortly after you obtain your discharge, you will be able ot begin rebuilding your credit. When you are in a repayment plan with a debt management company, you can not begin the rebuilding your credit until you have completed the program which is usually many more months than a bankruptcy.

Legal Terms

Substantial Abuse - When a debtor creates debt that is in excess to the extent it may be fraud.

Bankruptcy - An individual or entity that has had a bankruptcy filed on their behalf.

Bankruptcy Code - This is the law that governs bankruptcy that can can be found in Title 11 of the United States Code. This is the law that governs bankruptcy that can can be found in Title 11 of the United States Code.

Bankruptcy Estate - When a case is filed a bankruptcy estate is created that consists of the debtor's property.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - The most common type of bankruptcy, called a straight bankruptcy or a liquidation bankruptcy.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy A Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is typically a business reorganization.

Exemptions - Exemption laws are laws that define what amount of property a debtor can keep in a bankruptcy case. A debtor filing for a single bankruptcy may claim an exemption for personal property and a wildcard exemption, which together total $11,500, along with $1,000 for household goods, among other property. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy A chapter 13 Bankurptcy is a reorganization of debt in which the debtor proposes a re-payment schedule through a chapter 13 trustee.

Reaffirmation Agreement -A reaffirmation agreement is an agreement which obligates the debtor to pay certains debts after the bankruptcy discharge. Discharge As discharge is a court order that evidences that the dischargeable are elminated.

Adversary Proceeding - An adversary proceeding is a law action in a bankruptcy case that contests part of a bankruptcy.

Creditor - A person or company to whom money is owed.

Initial Appearance - In criminal law, the hearing at which a judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence against a person charged with a crime to hold him her for trial. The Constitution bans secret accusations, so initial appearances are public unless the defendant asks otherwise; the accused must be present, though he she usually does not offer evidence. Also called first appearance.

Injunction - Writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried out by a person or group. A preliminary injunction is granted provisionally, until a full hearing can be held to determine if it should be made permanent. law of the case - a ruling made at trial and not challenged on appeal

Inspectorial Search - An entry into and examination of premises or vehicles by an inspector for the identification and correction of conditions dangerous to health or safety.

Instructions - Judge's explanation to the jury before it begins deliberations of the questions it must answer and the applicable law governing the case. Also called charge to the jury.

Intangible assets - Nonphysical items that have value, such as stock certificates, bonds, bank accounts, and pension benefits. Intangible assets must be taken into account in estate planning and divorce.

Intestate Succession - The process by which a property of a person who has died without a will passes on to others according to the state's descent and distribution statutes. If someone dies without a will and the court uses the state's intestate succession laws, an heir who receives some of the deceased's property is an intestate heir.

Invoke the Rule - Separate and exclude witnesses other than the parties from the courtroom.

Irrevocable Trust - A trust that the grantor may not revoke.

Interrogatories - Written questions asked by one individual in a lawsuit for which the opposing individual must provide written answers.

garnishment - legal process by which property, such as bank accounts and wages, may be intercepted by a creditor. A wage garnishment will typically intercept 25% of a debtor's wages. Bankruptcy proceedings can stop garnishments immediately.

detinue - at common law, an action to recover personal property p> lottery winnings - in bankruptcy, lottery winnings are counted as assets.

step-up - In a chapter 13 bankruptcy, a step up is an increase in plan payments after a secured debt, usually a vehicle loan, is paid off.

Intervention - An action by which a third person that may be affected by a lawsuit is permitted to become a individual to the suit.

Inter Vivos Gift - A gift made during the giver's life.

Oral Argument - An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their positions before the court and also to answer the judges' questions.

Order - A written or oral command from a court directing or forbidding an action. Ordinance - A law adopted by the governing body of a municipality or county. Interlocutory - Provisional; not final. An interlocutory order or an interlocutory appeal concerns only a part of the issues raised in a lawsuit. Interpleader - An action in which a third person asks the Court to determine the rights of others to property held-but not owned-by the third person. Parol Evidence Rule - When a written agreement is intended to be a complete and final document, then the terms of the agreement cannot be altered by evidence of oral parol agreements that purport to change, explain, or contradict the written agreement. Parole - The supervised conditional release of a prisoner before an expiration of the sentence. If the parolee observes the conditions, he she need not serve the rest of his her term. Individual - A person, business, organization or government agency involved in the prosecution or defense of a legal proceeding. Inter Vivos Trust - Another name for living trust. Intestacy Laws - Rules governing the distribution of property after a person dies without leaving a will. Intestate - Dying without leaving a will. Nuncupative will -- an oral will. A nuncupative will is invalid in most states. Overrule - A judge's decision not to allow an objection. Alternatively, a decision by a higher court finding that a lower court decision was in error Parens Patriae - The doctrine under which the court protects the interests of a minor. Parol Evidence - Oral evidence. Issue - . The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in the lawsuit. . To send out officially, as in to issue an order. Joinder - Combining charges or defendants on the same complaint. Where a crime is committed by two people, both may be charged on one complaint. Joinder also applies in civil cases, where parties and claims may be joined in one complaint. Joint and Several Liability - A legal doctrine that makes each of the parties who are responsible for an injury liable for all the damages awarded in a lawsuit if the other responsible parties cannot pay. Joint Tenancy - A form of legal co-ownership of property also known as survivorship . At the death of one co-owner, the surviving co-owner becomes sole owner of the property. Tenancy by the entirety is a special form of joint tenancy between a husband and wife. Judge - An elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law. A judge Pro Tem is a temporary judge. Judgment - The first disposition of a lawsuit. Low Cost Bankruptcy lawyer Consent Judgment - Occurs when the provisions and terms of the judgment are agreed on by the parties and submitted to the court for its sanction and approval. Default Judgment - A judgment rendered because of a defendant's failure to answer or appear. Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict - Judgment entered by order of the court for one individual despite the jury's verdict in favor of the other individual. A judgment notwithstanding the verdict may only occur after a motion for a directed verdict. Judgment on the Pleadings - Judgment based on the pleadings alone. It is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case and one party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Summary Judgment - Judgment given on the basis of pleadings, exhibits, and affidavits presented for the record without any need for a trial. As with Judgment on the Pleadings, summary judgment is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case and one individual is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Objection - The process by which one individual tries to prevent the introduction of evidence or the use of a procedure at a hearing. An objection is either sustained allowed or overruled by the judge. Offense - A violation of a state statute or a municipal ordinance. Offer - A proposal that is definite and certain in its terms and that is communicated to the offeree. Once accepted, the offer is transformed into a contractual obligation. Offeree - Person to whom an offer is made. Offeror - Person who makes an offer. Opening Statement - The first statement made by lawyers for each side of the case outlining the facts each intends to establish during the trial. Opinion - A judge's written explanation of a decision of the court or of a majority of judges. A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion because of the principles of reasoning and principles of law on which the decision is based. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers further comment or different reasoning. A per curiam opinion is an unsigned opinion of the court.'' Judgment and Sentence - The official statement of a judge's disposition of a case sentencing a defendant to prison. Judicial Review - The authority of a court to review the official actions of other branches of government. Alternatively, the authority to declare unconstitutional the actions of other branches. Asset Case. As asset case is a bankruptcy filing in which the debtor has more assets over his claimed exemptions. Automatic Stay a court order that becomes in effect at the time the case is filed which automatically prohibits creditors from taking certain actions. Jury List - A list containing the names of jurors empanelled to try a cause or containing the names of all the jurors summoned to attend court. Jury Polling - The procedure by which each individual juror is asked to affirm his or her verdict in open court at the conclusion of a trial. Jury Trial - A trial in which the jury decides the facts and the judge rules on the law. Kangaroo Court - A fraudulent legal proceeding in which a person's rights are totally disregarded and in which the result is a foregone conclusion because of the bias of the court. Knowingly and Willfully - consciously and intentionally. Bankruptcy schedules legal forms that list the debtor's income, expenses, assets, liabilities, and exemptions. Jurat - Certificate of officer or person before whom writing was sworn. Typically, jurat is used to mean the certificate of the competent administering officer that writing was sworn to by person who signed it, low cost attorney,, low cost lawyer. Reasonable Doubt - That degree of doubt that would cause a careful person to hesitate before acting in matters of importance to himself or herself.

Direct Evidence - Proof of facts by witnesses who saw acts done or heard words spoken.

Direct Examination - The first questioning of witnesses by the individual on whose behalf they are called.

Directed Verdict - Now called judgment as a matter of law. An instruction by the judge to the jury to return a specific verdict.

Disbarment - Form of discipline of a lawyer resulting in the loss often permanently of that lawyer's right to practice law. Disbarment is more severe than censure an official reprimand or condemnation and suspension a temporary loss of the right to practice law.

Pretermitted Child - A child born after a will is executed, who is not provided for by the will. The law provides for a share of estate property to go to such a child.

Pretrial Conference - A meeting between the judge and the lawyers involved in a lawsuit to narrow the issues in the suit, agree on what will be presented at the trial, and explore the possibility of settling the case without a trial.

Pretrial Intervention - Programs to aid certain qualifying criminal defendants by diverting them from prosecution and enrolling them in rehabilitative programs. Upon successful completion of the required program s , the criminal case is dismissed. Pretrial intervention is most often used in substance abuse and domestic violence where the crime charged is the defendant's first offense.

Pretrial Release - Release by sheriff's personnel after arrest and before any court appearance, but with a court appearance date.

Discharge of bond - A court order to release a bond.

Disclaim - To refuse a gift made in a will.

Deferred Sentence - A sentence that is postponed to a future time. After conviction, the judge does not announce or impose a sentence, but defers sentencing to a future date so that the defendant will complete certain conditions, such as attending driving school or completing a probationary period. If the person completes the requirements, the case will be dismissed and will not be part of the defendant's criminal record.

Deficiency Judgment - Judgment in favor of a creditor for an amount equal to the difference between the amount owed by the debtor and the amount collected from sale of the collateral.

law of the case - a ruling made at trial and not challenged on appeal

Child support -- past due child support ordinarily survives a bankruptcy, however, if there has been a material change in circumstances to either parent, it may be possible to re-negotiate future child support.

Discharge of bond - A court order to release a bond.

Disclaim - To refuse a gift made in a will.

Deferred Sentence - A sentence that is postponed to a future time. After conviction, the judge does not announce or impose a sentence, but defers sentencing to a future date so that the defendant will complete certain conditions, such as attending driving school or completing a probationary period. If the person completes the requirements, the case will be dismissed and will not be part of the defendant's criminal record.

Deficiency Judgment - Judgment for a creditor for an amount equal to the difference between the amount owed by the debtor and the amount collected from sale of the collateral.

Title - legal ownership.

wage garnishment -- Seizure of part of a wage earner's paycheck by court order in satisfaction of a debt. In bankruptcy, wages garnished within 90 days of the filing of a bankruptcy can be recovered by the trustee and awarded to the debtor. P>DOC - The Department of Corrections - state prison facility.

Docket - A list of cases to be heard by a court or a log containing brief entries of court proceedings.

Docket Call - The proceeding in which a judge assigns trial dates or takes pleas.

Docket Number - The numerical designation assigned to each case by the court.

Domicile - A person's legal home. A person may have several residences, but only one domicile.

Double Jeopardy - Putting a person on trial more than once for the same crime. Double jeopardy is forbidden by the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Due Process of Law - The right of all persons to receive the safeguards and guarantees of the law and the judicial process. It includes such constitutional requirements as adequate notice of legal proceedings, opportunity to be heard by the judge, assistance of counsel, and the defendants' rights to remain silent, to a speedy and public trial, to an impartial jury and to confront and secure witnesses.

Defendant - In a civil case, the person being sued. In a criminal case, the person charged with a crime.

De Novo - Fresh. A trial de novo is a new trial of a case, such as a district court trial de novo of a magistrate court case.

Deposition - An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths. Depositions are taken to examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery to be used later in trial. Testimony of a witness other than in open court.

Statutes - State laws that provide for the distribution of estate property of a person who dies without a will.

Designee - A person appointed by a judge to act for the court to set conditions of release for any person arrested at a time when the judge is not available.

Demand for Discovery - Demand by the defense lawyer to the prosecutor to furnish material information on a case.

Demanding State - The state seeking return of a fugitive.

Discovery - Investigation and gathering of information by opposing parties prior to going to trial. The tools of discovery include: interrogatories, depositions, production of documents or things, permission to enter land or other property, physical and mental examinations, and requests for admission.

Discretion - A power or right conferred on a judge to act according to the dictates of his own judgment and conscience, uncontrolled by the judgment or conscience of others.

Dismissal - An order or judgment disposing of a case without a trial. With prejudice - In civil cases, the plaintiff is entitled to bring the same claim or cause of action again. In criminal cases, the defendant may not be charged with the specific crime again. A case is usually dismissed with prejudice when the court has not pursued action within the six-month time limit. In civil cases, the complainant is barred from bringing the same claim or cause of action against the same defendant. Without prejudice - the person may be charged with the specific crime again. A case is usually dismissed without prejudice when more evidence is needed in a case or the case needs to be filed in another court because of jurisdictional issues.

Disposition - The sentencing or other final settlement of a case.

Dissent - Verb To disagree. Noun An appellate court opinion setting forth the minority view and outlining the disagreement of one or more judges with the decision of the majority.

Diversion - The process of removing some minor offenses from the full judicial process, on the condition that the accused undergo some sort of rehabilitation or make restitution for damages.

detinue - at common law, an action to recover personal property

lottery winnings - lottery winnings are counted as assets.

Equity - Generally, justice or fairness. Historically, equity refers to a separate body of law developed in England in reaction to the inability of the common-law courts, in their strict adherence to rigid writs and forms of action, to consider or provide a remedy for every injury. The king therefore established the court of chancery to do justice between parties in cases where the common law would give inadequate redress. The principle of this system of law is that equity will find a way to achieve a lawful result when legal procedure is inadequate. Remedies such as restraining orders and injunctions are equitable remedies. Equity and law courts are now merged in most states.

Escheat - The process by which a deceased person's property goes to the state if no heir can be found.

Escrow - Money or a written instrument such as a deed that, by agreement between two parties, is held by a neutral third individual held in escrow until all conditions of the agreement are met.

Estate - An estate consists of personal property car, household items, and other tangible items , real property and intangible property, such as stock certificates and bank accounts, owned in the individual name of a person at the time of the person's death. It does not include life insurance proceeds unless the estate was made the beneficiary or other assets that pass outside the estate like a joint tenancy asset.

Estate Tax - Generally, a tax on the privilege of transferring property to others after a person's death. In addition to federal estate taxes, many states have their own estate taxes.

Estoppel - A person's own act, or acceptance of facts, which preclude his or her later making claims to the contrary.

Et al. - And others.

Et Seq. - And the following.

Evidence - Testimony or exhibits received by the court at any stage of court proceedings.

Examination - The questioning of a witness under oath.

Exceptions - Declarations by either side in a civil or criminal case reserving the right to appeal a judge's ruling upon a motion or objection. These are no longer required to preserve error. Also, in regulatory cases, objections by either side to points made by the other side or to rulings by the agency or one of its hearing officers.

Exclusionary Rule - The rule preventing illegally obtained evidence, such as property found during an illegal search, from being used in any trial. low cost bankruptcy lawyers near me. An internet search will list low cost bankruptcy attorneys nearby. pro bono bankruptcy lawyers in maryland. Pro bono bankruptcy lawyers represent indigent clients. how much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost. Every bankruptcy cas is different, so it is impossible to give a blanket fee. low cost bankruptcy attorneys. Low cost bankruptcy attorneys can assist you in protecting your assets. cheap bankruptcy lawyers in md. Cheap bankruptcy attorneys are available in Maryland. free bankruptcy lawyers. Free bankrupcty attorneys may be available, depending on the particulars of the case. chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers near me. Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers can assist clients who are ineligible for Chapter 7. bankruptcy laws in Maryland protect debtors whose debts have become unmanageable.

Promissory Estoppel - Equitable doctrine allowing the court to enforce a promise even though a valid contract was not formed when a person reasonably acted in reliance on that promise. Promissory Estoppel allows the court to compensate the person for their expenditures and or to avoid the unjust enrichment of the other individual.

Property Bond - A signature bond secured by mortgage or real property.

Pro Se - In one's own behalf, commonly used to refer to a individual representing himself or herself in a court action, instead of being represented by an lawyer.

Prosecutor - A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal case and the interests of the state in civil matters. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of deciding who and when to prosecute.

Execute - To complete the legal requirements such as signing before witnesses that make a will valid. Also, to execute a judgment or decree means to put the final judgment of the court into effect.

Executor - A personal representative, named in a will, who administers an estate.

Exempt Property - In collection, execution, and bankruptcy proceedings, this refers to certain property protected by law from the reach of creditors.

Exhibits - A document or item which is formally introduced in court and which, when accepted, is made part of the case file.

Exigent Circumstances - An emergency, demand, or need calling for immediate action or remedy that, for instance, would justify a warrantless search.

Exonerate - Removal of a charge, responsibility or duty.

Ex Parte - On behalf of only one individual, without notice to any other individual. For example, a request for a search warrant is an ex parte proceeding, since the person subject to the search is not notified of the proceeding and is not present at the hearing.

Ex Parte Communication - Communication about a lawsuit between a judge and one individual, witness, lawyer, or other person interested in the litigation when all of the parties are not present and the absent individual did not have notice.

Ex Parte Proceeding - The legal procedure in which only one side is present or represented. It differs from the adversary system or adversary proceeding, and is only lawful in limited circumstances. For example, a hearing for a temporary restraining order.

Principal - The person primarily liable; the person for whom performance of an obligation a surety has become bound.

Privilege - A right, power, or immunity held by a person or class beyond the course of law, such as the privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment.

Probable Cause - The evidence required before a person or property may be searched or seized by law enforcement and before a search or arrest warrant may be issued.

Probable Cause to Arrest exists when the facts and circumstances within the officers' knowledge and of which the officers had reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that the suspect has committed or is committing a crime.

Probable Cause to search exists when the facts and circumstances within the officers' knowledge and of which the officers had reasonably trustworthy information are sufficient to warrant a person of reasonable caution to believe that evidence of a crime will be found in the location identified.

Probate - The court-supervised process by which a will is determined to be the will-maker's final statement regarding how the will maker wants his her property distributed. It also confirms the appointment of the personal representative of the estate.

Ex Post Facto - After the fact. The Constitution prohibits the enactment of ex post facto laws. These are laws that permit conviction and punishment for an act that was lawful at the time it was performed.

Express Warranty - An affirmation of fact or promise made by the seller to the buyer that is relied upon by the buyer in agreeing to the contract. Agree on a debt payment plan that fits your budget Stop foreclosure of your house and repossession repossession of your car Stop wage garnishment Pay off your debts for the lowest amount possible.

Expungement - Official and formal erasure of a record or partial contents of a record. Extenuating Circumstances - Circumstances that render a crime less aggravated, heinous, or reprehensible than it would otherwise be.

Extradition - Surrender by one state to another of a person accused or convicted of an offense outside its own territory and within territorial jurisdiction of the other, with the other state which is competent to try him her, demanding his her surrender.

Extrinsic - Foreign, from outside sources.

Family Allowance - A small amount of money set aside from the estate of the deceased. Its purpose is to provide for the surviving family members during the administration of the estate.

Felony - A crime that allows a defendant to be imprisoned for more than one year upon being found guilty.

Fiduciary - A person having a legal relationship of trust and confidence to another and having a duty to act primarily for the other's benefit: i.e., a guardian, trustee or executor.

Pre-Sentence Report - A report designed to assist the judge in passing sentence on a convicted defendant. Such reports should contain at least the following: complete description of the situation surrounding the criminal activity; offender's educational background; offender's employment background; offender's social history; residence history of the offender; offender's medical history; information about environment to which the offender will return; information about any resources available to assist the offender; probation officer's view of the offender's motivations and ambitions; full description of the offender's criminal record.

File - To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court court administrator to enter into the files or records of a case.

Filed in Open Court - Court documents entered into the file in court during legal proceedings.

Final Order - An order that ends the lawsuit between the parties, resolves the merits of the case, and leaves nothing to be done but enforcement.

Finding - Formal conclusion by a judge or regulatory agency on issues of fact. Also, a conclusion by a jury regarding a fact.

First Appearance - The initial appearance of an arrested person before a judge to determine whether or not there is probable cause for his her arrest. Generally, the person comes before a judge within hours of the arrest. Also called initial appearance.

Foundation - Preliminary questions to a witness to establish admissibility of evidence; i.e., laying a foundation for admissibility.

Fraud - Intentional deception to deprive another person of property or to injure that person in some way.

Fruit of the Crime - Property acquired by means and in consequence of the commission of a crime, and sometimes constituting the subject matter of the crime.

Fruit of the Poisonous Tree - Property seized or statements made subsequent to and because of an illegal search or interrogation. Fruit of the poisonous tree is generally not admissible in evidence because it is tainted by the illegal search or interrogation.

Points or Point Information - Penalty points imposed by the Motor Vehicles Division after conviction of a traffic offense.

Polling the Jury - The act, after a jury verdict has been announced, of asking jurors individually whether they agree with the verdict.

Pour-Over Will - A will that leaves some or all estate assets to a trust established before the will-maker's death.

Prejudice - Unfair harm to one individual.

Power of Attorney - Formal authorization of a person to act in the interests of another who is incapable of managing his or her own affairs or property.

Preliminary Hearing - See Initial Appearance.

Preliminary Injunction - Court order requiring action or forbidding action until a decision can be made whether to issue a permanent injunction. It differs from a temporary restraining order.

Pre-Sentence Investigation - A background investigation of the defendant by the Department of Corrections, returnable to the sentencing judge on or before a certain date.

Fugitive - A person who flees from one state to another to avoid prosecution.

Garnishment - A legal proceeding in which the debtor's money, which is in the possession of another called the garnishee , is applied to the debts of the debtor, such as when an employer garnishes a debtor's wages.

General Damages - Compensation for the loss directly and necessarily incurred by a breach of contract.

General Jurisdiction - Refers to courts that have no limit on the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear.

Good Faith - Honest intent to act without taking an unfair advantage over another person. This term is applied to many kinds of transactions.

Good Time - A reduction in sentenced time in prison as a reward for good behavior. It usually is one third to one half less than the maximum sentence.

Grand Jury - A jury of inquiry convened to determine whether evidence against a defendant justifies issuing an indictment; comprised of not more than and not less than persons, with at least concurring before an indictment may be returned.

Grantor or Settlor - The person who sets up a trust. Also known as trustor.

Guardian - A person appointed by will or by law to assume responsibility for incompetent adults or minor children. If one parent dies, the children's guardian will usually be the other parent. If both die, it usually can be a close relative.

Guardianship - Legal right given to a person to be responsible for the food, housing, health care, and other necessities of a person deemed incapable of providing these necessities for himself herself. A guardian also may be given responsibility for a person's financial affairs, and thus perform additionally as a conservator. See also Conservatorship.

Habeas Corpus - A writ used as a means to bring a person before the court to determine whether he she is being detained unlawfully.

Harmless Error - An error committed during a trial that was corrected or was not serious enough to affect the outcome of the trial and therefore was not sufficiently harmful prejudicial to require that the judgment be reversed on appeal.

Plea - Defendant's answer to the charge - guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere or Alford plea. In a criminal proceeding, the defendant's declaration in open court that he or she is guilty or not guilty. The defendant's answer to the charges made in the indictment or information.

Plea Agreement - An agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant, presented for the court's approval, regarding the sentence the defendant should serve upon a plea of guilty, an Alford plea, or a no contest plea. Typically, the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for some form of leniency. For example, the defendant may plead to lesser charges so that the penalties are diminished. Or, the defendant may plead to some, but not all of the charges so that others are dropped. The agreement may include sentencing recommendations. Such bargains are not binding on the court.

Plea Bargaining or Plea Negotiating - The process through which an accused person and a prosecutor negotiate a mutually satisfactory disposition of a case. The Court is not privy to the actual negotiations, but is presented with the agreement for its approval or rejection.

Pleadings - The written statements of fact and law filed by the parties to a lawsuit.

Hearing -A proceeding, generally public, at which an issue of fact or law is discussed and either individual has the right to be heard.

Hearsay - Testimony by a witness concerning events about which the witness has no personal knowledge. Hearsay testimony conveys not what the witness observed personally, but what others told the witness or what the witness heard others say. Hearsay is usually not admissible as evidence in court because of its unreliability. Exceptions exist, however, as in the case of a dying declaration or an admission against interest.

Hung jury - Jury unable to reach a verdict. A trial ending in a hung jury results in a retrial with a new jury.

Per Se Law - In the Motor Vehicle Code, the per se crime is driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or greater, as established through a valid testing procedure. No proof is required to show that the defendant was under AN influence since the law concludes that driving with a blood alcohol content BAC of .08 or greater is driving while intoxicated. DWI can be proved by other evidence even if a defendant's BAC is less than .08.

Personal Property - Tangible physical property such as cars, clothing, furniture and jewelry and intangible personal property such as bank accounts . This does not include real property such as land or rights in land.

Initial Appearance - In criminal law, the hearing at which a judge determines whether there is sufficient evidence against a person charged with a crime to hold him her for trial. The Constitution bans secret accusations, so initial appearances are public unless the defendant asks otherwise; the accused must be present, though he she usually does not offer evidence. Also called first appearance.

Injunction - Writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried out by a person or group. A preliminary injunction is granted provisionally, until a full hearing can be held to determine if it should be made permanent.

Inspectorial Search - An entry into and examination of premises or vehicles by an inspector for the identification and correction of conditions dangerous to health or safety.

Instructions - Judge's explanation to the jury before it begins deliberations of the questions it must answer and the applicable law governing the case.

Intangible assets - Nonphysical property, such as goodwill.

Immunity - A grant by the court assuring someone that they will not face prosecution in return for their providing criminal evidence.

Impeachment of a Witness - An attack on the credibility believability of a witness, through evidence introduced for that purpose.

Implied Consent - Knowing indirectly through conduct or inaction that a person would agree or give permission. For example, a person who gets a driver's license has given implied consent to allow a police officer to conduct an alcohol breath or blood test, when the police suspects the person is driving while intoxicated.

Implied Warranty of Merchantability - An assumption in law that the goods are fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used. This implied warranty applies to every sale by a merchant who deals in goods of the kind sold. However, if there is a warning that the goods are sold as is, the implied warranty does not apply.

Inadmissible - That which, under the rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received as evidence.

Plain View Doctrine - The doctrine that permits a law enforcement officer to lawfully seize incriminating evidence not specifically sought but readily visible in the course of a valid search.

In-Custody Arraignments jail cases - Arraignment while the defendant remains in jail because defendant has not been released on bond or by other means.

Indeterminate Sentence - A sentence of imprisonment to a specified minimum and maximum period of time, specifically authorized by statute, subject to termination by a parole board or other authorized agency after the prisoner has served the minimum term.

Indicia - Indications or signs.

Indictment - The written accusation by a grand jury that charges a person named in the indictment with the violation of a law. Indictments are used for felony charges, not misdemeanors.

Indigency - Financial inability to hire a lawyer or pay court costs.

Indigent - Impoverished or needy. A defendant who can demonstrate his her indigence to the court may be assigned a court-appointed lawyer at public expense in criminal and child abuse neglect cases, but not in other civil cases.

In Forma Pauperis - In the manner of a pauper. Permission given to a person to sue without payment of court costs because of poveerty or indigence.

Information - An accusation against a person for a criminal offense, without an indictment; presented by the prosecution instead of a grand jury. Informations are used for felony charges, not misdemeanors.

Infra - Below.

Infraction - A violation of law not punishable by imprisonment. Minor traffic offenses generally are considered infractions.

Inheritance Tax - A state tax on property that an heir or beneficiary under a will receives from a deceased person's estate. The heir or beneficiary pays this tax.

Patent - A government grant giving an inventor the exclusive right to make or sell his her invention for a term of years.

Penalty Assessment - Procedure in which traffic offender is allowed to mail in a fine plead guilty by mail . Points may be assessed against the person's driving record for penalty assessment offenses.

Peremptory Challenge - The right to challenge a judge or prospective juror without assigning a reason for the challenge.

Perjury - The criminal offense of making a false statement under oath.

Permanent Injunction - A court order requiring that some action be taken or that some individual refrain from taking action for an indefinite period.

Personal Jurisdiction - Power which a court has over the defendant's person and which a court must have before it can enter a judgment affecting the defendant's rights. that have value, such as stock certificates, bonds, bank accounts, and pension benefits. Intangible assets must be taken into account in estate planning and divorce.

Nunc Pro Tunc - An entry made now for an act done previously and to have the effect as if it were done on a prior date.

Nuncupative Will - An oral unwritten will.

Notice of Lis Pendens - A notice filed on public records to warn all persons that the title to certain property is in litigation, and that if they purchase or lease that property they are in danger of being bound by an adverse judgment. The notice is for the purpose of preserving rights pending litigation, low cost attorney, low cost bankruptcy.

Nuisance - An unreasonable, unwarranted, or unlawful use of one's property that annoys, disturbs, or inconveniences another in the use of his or her property. Violation of an ordinance that forbids annoyance of the public in general.

In Camera - In chambers or in private. A hearing in camera takes place in the judge's office outside of the presence of the jury and the public.

Incarcerate - To confine to jail.

Personal Recognizance - In criminal proceedings, the pretrial release of a defendant without bail upon his her promise to return to court.

Oaths - Sworn attestations required in court, usually administered by the in-court clerk.

Negligence - Failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances.

Next Friend - One acting without formal appointment as guardian for the benefit of an infant, a person of unsound mind not judicially declared incompetent, or other person

under some disability.

No-Contest Clause - Language in a will providing that a person who makes a legal challenge to the will's validity will be disinherited.

No Contest Plea - A plea in which a defendant, while not admitting guilt, presents no defense.

Jurisdiction - The court's legal authority to hear and resolve specific disputes.

Jurisdiction is usually composed of personal jurisdiction authority over persons and subject matter jurisdiction authority over types of cases.

Jurisprudence - The study of law and the structure of the legal system.

Juror Disqualified - Juror excused from a trial.

Jury - Persons chosen according to law and sworn to inquire into and render a verdict on matters of fact. A petit jury is a trial jury, composed of six to 12 persons, which hears either civil or criminal cases.

Jury Array - The whole body of prospective jurors summoned to court from which the jury will be selected. Also called Jury Panel.

Non-jury trial - A case tried by a judge on the facts as well as the law.

No Probable Cause - Insufficient grounds to try the person who was arrested.

Notice - Formal notification to the individual that has been sued that a civil lawsuit has been filed. Also, any form of notification of a legal proceeding or filing of a document.

Personal Representative - The person who administers an estate. If named in a will, that person's title is an executor. If there is no valid will, that person's title is an administrator.

Petitioner - The person filing an action in a court of original jurisdiction. Also, the person who appeals the judgment of a lower court. The opposing individual is called the respondent.

Petty Misdemeanor - A crime that allows less than six months of jail time upon conviction.

Plaintiff - The person business organization agency that files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.

Elements of a Crime - Specific factors that define a crime and which the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to obtain a conviction. Eminent Domain - The power of the government to take private property for public use through condemnation. En Banc - All the judges of a court sitting together. Appellate courts can consist of a dozen or more judges, but often they hear cases in panels of three judges. If a case is heard or reheard by the full court, it is heard en banc.

Endorsed - Stamped with the seal of the court indicating the date and time of filing with the court.

Enjoining - An order by the court telling a person to stop performing a specific act.

Entrapment - inducement of a person to commit a crime he she otherwise would not have committed.

Entry of Judgment or Order - The filing of a signed, written, and dated judgment or order.

Equal Protection of the Law - The guarantee in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Article III, that the law treat all persons equally. Court decisions have established that this guarantee requires that courts be open to all persons on the same conditions, with like rules of evidence and modes of procedure; that persons be subject to no restrictions in the enjoyment of liberty, the acquisition of property, and the pursuit of happiness, which do not generally affect others; that persons are liable to no other or greater burdens than those are laid upon others; and that no different or greater punishment is enforced against them for a violation of the laws.

Stay - Court order temporarily halting a judicial proceeding.

Survivorship - Another name for joint tenancy, a form of title in which one owner becomes entitled to property because he or she has survived all other owners.

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