For glossary terms in American Sign Language, you can view these Midwest Center on Law and the Deaf videos.


To be found not guilty of a crime by a judge or jury


Enough evidence to file a lawsuit

Actual damages

Money awarded to replace damages the plaintiff suffered

Adjudicated delinquent

A finding for an act committed by a juvenile for which an adult could be prosecuted in a criminal court. Delinquent acts can include drug offenses and crimes against persons, property, and public order.


A formal court decision

Administrative hearing

Similar to trial but less formal. It's held in front of a judge who works for a government agency.

Administrative order

A decision made by a government agency


When an adult becomes a child's legal parent


Any person 18 years old or over


Sexual relations between a married person and someone who is not their spouse


A notarized written statement signed by a person under oath

Affidavit of service

A written statement signed under oath. It describes where, when, and how a person received court documents.

Affirmative defense

When a defendant asserts new facts in a case that are different from the facts given by the plaintiff. If proven to be true, these are reasons why the plaintiff should not win.

Aggravated assault

The infliction of serious physical injury with or without a deadly weapon, or intentional attempt to seriously injure with a weapon.

Agreed order

An agreement between two sides in a lawsuit that says what both sides will do


A name, such as a nickname, that is used by someone but is not their legal name


A claim that has not yet been proven by a court

Allocation of parental responsibilities

When a court splits up parenting time, decision-making responsibility, and child support between parents (formerly called "custody")


To divide property between everyone who is entitled to it

Amended complaint

Changes made by the plaintiff to the original complaint. They can correct facts, add new claims, or make other changes.

Animal cruelty

Actions that mistreat or kill animals without just cause.


A legal action that says a marriage was never legally valid


A written statement used to respond to the complaint or petition in a lawsuit


A request to change a court's decision


A form that lets the plaintiff and the court know the defendant is participating in the case. It can also be when a person shows up to their court hearing.


Someone who wants to change a previous court decision


An expert's opinion of what something is worth


When parties present their case to a third person instead of going to court. The arbitrator’s decision is binding. This means it becomes part of the final judgment even if the parties don’t agree with it.

Area median income

The midpoint of income for an area. Half of the people in that area make less. Half of the people make more. This number is used to decide who is eligible for some government programs.


Amount of back support owed at the time an order is entered.

Arresting authority

The law enforcement agency that arrested someone, like the police or FBI


An unlawful attack by one person upon another person, including aggravated assault, simple assault, and intimidation.


Anything a person owns that has financial value

Assisting or promoting prostitution

To assist or promote prostitution in any way (including the solicitation of customers, transportation of people for prostitution purposes, and owning or operating an establishment where prostitution is performed).

At-will employment

A type of employment where an employee can quit or be fired at any time. Exceptions include legally protected reasons.

Attorney's fees

Money paid to a lawyer for their work


When records are looked over to make sure they are correct


Money paid to insure that a person will show up to court


A person in charge of security in a courtroom


Where the judge sits. Usually a table and a chair. Not an actual bench.

Bench trial

A trial decided by a judge without a jury


A person that gets property or money from someone when they die


Having two spouses at once

Birth certificate

A legal document with a person's place of birth, time of birth, and parents


To obtain something of value through coercive means.


To offer something of value to sway the judgment or action of a person.

Burden of proof

The standard required to to prove something


The entry or attempted entry of any fixed structure, vehicle, or vessel used for regular residence, industry, or business, with or without force, with intent to commit a felony or larceny

Case number

A number assigned to a case that is on every paper filed in the case

Certified copy

A copy of a document that can be used instead of the original because an official has approved it as a true and accurate copy by signing it.

Certified mail

A document delivery service such as the US Postal Service that sends a party a receipt as proof that the documents were mailed and delivered

Child support

Money paid by a parent to help another parent support a minor child or an adult child with a disability

Child support order

A decision by a court telling a parent to pay child support

Circuit clerk

The office that takes care of files and documents for circuit court cases

Circuit court

The lowest level of court in Illinois

Citation to discover assets

An order from the court. Asks the person to come to court and be questioned under oath. The court asks how much money they have and property they own.

Civil court

A court where people or businesses bring problems in front of a judge. Civil courts are different from criminal courts, where a defendant is accused of a crime by the state.

Civil cover sheet

A form filed by the plaintiff with the complaint at the start of a lawsuit

Civil procedure

Rules a party must follow when they are participating in a lawsuit


A person who uses a court to demand something from another person


Money paid for health care in addition to what the insurer pays


A person who is charged with the same crime or sued in the same case


People who live together


Property a person promises to give up if they do not repay a loan

Commercial sex acts

To induce a person into participating in prostitution through coercion or if the victim is under 18 years of age.


Includes juveniles in placement in the facility as part of a court order.


Payment for work done or damage suffered


Another word for plaintiff or a person that files a lawsuit


A written statement to start a lawsuit that says what the defendant did




When someone gives permission for someone else to do something

Consent foreclosure

An agreement for land to be foreclosed or sold by the lender


Benefits, rights, and duties enjoyed in a family relationship. These are typically provided by a spouse.

Contempt of court

When someone violates a court order or disrespects the court

Contested case

When both sides to a case present opposing arguments and evidence

Contingent fee

When a lawyer is paid from the money their client won or recieved


When the judge gives additional preparation time before or during a trial

Contributory negligence

When someone's own acts resulted in them being harmed


When someone is declared guilty of a crime by a court


To sign a loan with another person and share the responsibility that it will be paid back


Two or more people renting the same property


Another name for a lawyer


A claim in a court case brought by the responding side (defendant). It is against the side who started the case (plaintiff).

Court costs

The fees for going to court, including filing, serving, and getting transcripts

Courtesy copies

A copy of a document given to the judge


Someone who is owed money

Crimes against persons

Crimes whose victims are people, such as murder or rape, rather than property, such as robbery or burglary.

Criminal court

A court where a person is accused of a crime in front of a judge. The other side of the case is the State of Illinois, represented by a State's Attorney. The person accused is called the defendant. Criminal courts are different from civil courts, where two people or businesses can bring problems in front of a judge.

Criminal homicide

An umbrella term for causing the death of another person;  includes murder, non-negligent (voluntary) manslaughter, negligent (involuntary) manslaughter, and vehicular manslaughter.

Criminal Identification Act

Defines expungement and sealing rules for Illinois. 

Curfew and loitering laws

Offenses in which a minor violates a local curfew or loitering ordinance.

Curfew violation

Violation of an ordinance forbidding persons below a certain age from being in public places during set hours.

Debt collector

A person or company that regularly collects debts owed to another person


A person who owes money to someone else


Someone who has died


A legal paper that transfers ownership of real estate. It is recorded in the local land records.

Deed in lieu of foreclosure

When a homeowner gives their home back to the bank to avoid foreclosure


A false statement that harms a person's reputation

Default judgment

When a person loses a case because they don't file an appearance or show up in court


The person or organization being sued in a lawsuit


Amount of back support accumulating after order is entered.

Delinquent act

An act committed by a juvenile for which an adult could be prosecuted in a criminal court, but when committed by a juvenile is handled by the juvenile court.


When a court rejects or refuses to allow a request; for example, when a judge decides not to grant an attorney's objection.


To refuse or say no


A person who relies on another for support, such as a child or person with a disability


An oral statement made under oath


Includes juveniles held prior to a court makes a decision about their case,  awaiting transfer to adult criminal court, or awaiting a hearing or trial in adult criminal court.


A substantial impairment that functionally limits a person in carrying out major life activities, such as walking, lifting, seeing, or learning.


When parties exchange and gather information about each other's cases before the case goes to trial


Cases dismissed with no further action anticipated.

Disorderly conduct

An interruption of the peace, quiet, or order of a community.


A store that sells cannabis and cannabis-based products


A court’s final decision in a criminal case

Dissolution of marriage



Includes juveniles sent to the facility in lieu of adjudication as part of a diversion agreement.


A list of everything that happens in a civil case. Also can be used to refer to the court calendar.

Domestic violence

Harm by one household or family member against another household or family member. Harm may be an emotional, mental, or physical injury

Driving under the influence

The operation of any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.

Drug abuse violations

The unlawful possession, sale, use, growing, or manufacturing of narcotic drugs.


Offenses other than driving under the influence which relate to drunkenness or intoxication.


A legal obligation to do something


Short for "electronic filing." You file court papers using a computer instead of handing them to the clerk in person. This is required in Illinois as of 1/1/18.


When a child under the age of 18 asks a judge to become a legal adult. Child wants to be removed from the care and control of their parents.


The misuse of money or property entrusted to one's care, custody, or control.

Emergency certification

A way to get someone admitted to a mental health facility without a court hearing

Emotional distress

Serious mental suffering or anxiety


Taking legal steps to make someone do what the court tells them to do


To order or require that an action be stopped


Amount that is left after a person pays off their loan


All of the property a person owns at their death


A court case brought by a landlord to get a tenant to move out


Anything used to show that something is true


Person in charge of giving out the property left in a will


In bankruptcy, property that you can protect from creditors. In property taxes, an amount that reduces the value of your home that is used to calculate property taxes owed.


A document introduced as evidence in a trial


To physically remove someone's name from a legal record.


When a criminal record is destroyed


To obtain something of value through coercive means.

Fair market value

The price that a normal buyer would pay

False pretenses

The intentional use of deception to obtain things of value.

Fee waiver

A document that lets someone file court papers for free or at a reduced cost.


A serious crime that is punishable by more than one year in prison

Filing fee

Fee charged for filing court documents

Filing status

A person's family situation for tax purposes: Single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow.


The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

Forced sale

When property is taken from the owner and sold as authorized by a court order. Examples include orders related to bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Forcible entry

Taking possession of a building or land through force or serious threat

Forcible rape

Sexual intercourse or attempted sexual intercourse with a female against her will by force or threat of force Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. Attempts or assaults to commit rape are also included; however, statutory rape and incest are excluded.


A forced sale of property when a person doesn't make payments on a loan


A jury member who speaks for the entire jury

Foreseeable risk

The chances of damage that a reasonable person could anticipate


To lose property or rights as a penalty for violating the law


Someone who creates or uses a false document or signature

Forgery and counterfeiting

Making, altering, uttering, or possessing, with intent to deceive.


The court where a lawsuit is filed


The deception of someone(s) with intent to cause damage (not including  forgeries and counterfeiting).

Gag order

A court order that directs people not to talk about a case

Gambling equipment violations

To manufacture, sell, buy, possess, or transport equipment or goods used for gambling.

Gambling offenses

Involvement in games of chance or sporting contests where payments are at stake.


When a debtor's money is taken out of their paycheck or bank account to pay for a debt they owe

Good cause

A legally acceptable reason to do something

Good faith

An honest effort to do something

Governing law

A contract term that specifies which state's laws should be followed if the contract is disputed

Grace period

A period of time when a debtor is not required to make payments on a debt

Grand jury

A group of 16 to 23 citizens who decide if there is probable cause to believe someone committed a crime

Gross income

Income before taxes are taken out

Guardian Ad Litem

A person appointed by a judge to help the judge make a decision in a guardianship or family law case


When a person is appointed by a judge to take care of a child or an adult with a disability

Habeas corpus

Going before a court or judge to decide whether a person is being unlawfully denied their freedom


Gaining access to computer software, hardware, or networks without permission.

Head of household

A tax filing status for someone who is unmarried. They pay at least half of household expenses and live with a dependent.


Listen to and judge a case


When the parties in a case present their sides of a case to a judge or other officer


A statement made outside the courtroom and used in court to show something is true


Anyone who receives property from someone who has died

Holdover tenant

A tenant who continues to occupy a residence after the term of the lease. Does not have consent of the landlord.


The killing of one human being by another; includes willful murder and negligent homicide.

Human trafficking

Involves the use of force or coercion to make someone participate in forced labor or a commercial sex act, or luring them into participating if they are under 18.

Hung jury

A jury that is unable to agree on a final decision. This results in a mistrial.

Identity theft

Wrongfully obtaining and using another person’s personal data.

Illinois Compiled Statutes

The written law of Illinois, abbreviated as "ILCS"


When a person is allowed to break the law, or is protected from being sued


The false representation of one’s identity or position for one’s own benefit.


When the court or police take possession of personal property


Nonforcible sexual intercourse between people who are related.

Independent contractor

A person hired to do a specific job and whose work is not supervised


Poor; a poor person


A court order to make someone do something or stop doing something

Inpatient services

Services that require a patient to stay at a hospital for one or more nights


The screening process children who are arrested go through before seeing a judge. Intake procedures are often conducted by intake officers, probation staff, case and social workers, or police.

Intake decision

A decision made by juvenile court intake that results in a case being handled at the intake level or scheduled for an adjudicatory or waiver hearing.


Legal access to communications like phone calls and e-mails. Other examples include wiretapping.

Interest rate

The amount charged for borrowing money

Interim order

A temporary order telling a person to do something until a hearing or trial. At the trial, a final order will be made.


A written question in a case that must be answered


To place a person in fear of harm without the display of a weapon or actual physical attack (includes stalking; threats).

Involuntary servitude

To coerce a person to participate in forced labor (not commercial sex acts) through coercion or if the victim is under 18 years of age.

Irreconcilable differences

When a couple cannot agree about things in their marriage. They don’t think they can ever come to an agreement.

Itemized deductions

Specific expenses that may reduce taxable income. It is calculated by adding up relevant deductions. It is then subtracted from a person's taxable income. They have the option of claiming the standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. But, they can't claim both in the same year.

IV-D Agency

The part of the Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services that enforces child support orders

Joint parenting agreement

An agreement between parents that sets out how their children will be raised and how parenting time will be split

Joint tenancy

A type of ownership in which the owners have equal shares and have a right of survivorship. The right of survivorship means that when one owner dies, the other owners split that owner's share.


An official decision by a court that ends the dispute between parties

Judicial decision

A decision made in response to a petition that asks the court to adjudicate or waive a youth.

Judicial disposition

An action taken after a judicial decision is made.

Judicial sale

A sale of property ordered by a court to pay for a debt


The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Also a region where a court has authority.

Jury deliberation

When the jury meets to discuss the facts of your case and decide an outcome

Jury trial

A trial decided by a judge and a jury


For misdemeanor offenses, a defendant is considered a juvenile if the offense occurred when they were 17 or younger.For felony offenses, a defendant is considered a juvenile if the offense occurred when they were 16 or younger.

Juvenile court

Any court that has jurisdiction over matters involving juveniles.


Secretly taking and confining a person against their will


An owner of property who rents it out to a tenant


Theft when the property is taken in a non-forceful way


Someone who represents clients in courts or who gives legal advice

Lay witness

A person who gives testimony in a case but is not an expert

Leave of court

Permission from a court to take some action. This action would not be allowed without such permission.


A person or business that rents property from someone else


A person or business that rents property to someone else

License hold

When a driver is prevented from renewing their driver's license until a legal matter is settled


A claim against property that may be used to repay a debt


Someone participating in a lawsuit

Local rules

Rules that only apply in a specific courtroom, court house, or location


To linger or hang around in a public place with no apparent purpose

Magistrate judge

A judge that only hears part of a case


Money the court orders one spouse to pay the other spouse after their divorce (formerly called alimony)

Manner of handling

A general classification of case processing within the juvenile court system

Marital property

Property acquired by either spouse during the marriage

Married filing jointly

A tax filing status for a married couple that includes all income and deductions for both people

Material breach

A violation of a contract that is severe enough to end the agreement


When a neutral person, called a mediator, works to help the parties in a case reach an agreement


A neutral person who helps parties in a case reach an agreement outside court


A person under 18 years old


A lesser crime punishable by a fine or confinement in county jail for up to one year


A lesser crime punishable by a fine or confinement in county jail for up to one year.


A trial that ends without any final decision. It is because of an error or the jury cannot agree on the verdict.


To change or adjust


A loan given by a bank that is used to help someone buy a home

Mortgage company

A company that lends someone money to buy a house. The company can take the house if the homeowner cannot repay the loan.

Mortgage servicer

The company that collects monthly loan payments for a mortgage


A request to the judge to make the court or a party in the case do something

Motor vehicle theft

The unlawful taking, or attempted taking, of a self propelled road vehicle owned by another

Municipal ordinance

A law or regulation of a city or local government

Murder and non-negligent manslaughter

The willful killing of a human being


The process of becoming a citizen in a country where a person was not born a citizen


When a person acts with less care or caution than a regular person would have in the same situation


When someone is not careful in protecting the rights and property of others

Negligent manslaughter

The killing of a person through negligence

Net Income

Income after taxes have been taken out

Nominal damages

A very small amount of money awarded when a court finds in favor of one party. The court finds that no real harm was done.


Cases that court personnel decide not to petition

Non-wage garnishment

Taking a defendant's money that is in the hands of other parties, like a bank

Noncustodial parent

The parent that does not have the majority of parenting time.

Nonresident Violator Compact

A multi-state agreement. It assures non-resident motorists who receive citations for minor traffic violations receive the same treatment as resident motorists. It provides due-process protection for non-residents. It helps states hold violators responsible.

Notary public

A person who certifies that another person signed a document. A notary is not an attorney.

Notice of motion

A document that gives notice to the court and the other party. It explains someone has filed a motion, and where and when that motion will be argued before a judge.


A protest made by an attorney during a trial. It asks the judge to exclude certain evidence or testimony. If the judge doesn't grant the objection, it's called a denial.


Parent receiving child support


Parent ordered to pay child support

Obstruction of justice

Acts done to prevent or hinder the administration of justice

Of sound mind

A person who has full mental capabilities and is able to understand, think, and reason

Offenses against family and children

Nonsupport, neglect, desertion, or abuse of children or other family members

Oral contract

A spoken agreement that is not in writing

Order of protection

A document from a judge that tells an abuser to stop further domestic abuse, or face penalties


A law or rule made by a local government like a town or city

Outpatient services

Services that do not require staying overnight at a hospital

P.O. Box

Post office box, an individual box for mail at a post office


To release someone from punishment for a crime they were convicted of committing


The relationship between a parent and a child

Parental responsibilities

Making important decisions for a child (significant decision-making responsibility) and spending time with them (parenting time)

Parenting plan

A document that divides up each parent's significant decision-making responsibility or parenting time. Can also be both.

Parenting time

Time that a child spends with a parent. Usually, the child lives mostly with one parent and has regular contact with the other (formerly called visitation).


A release from prison. It allows someone to serve time outside of prison as long as they follow certain conditions.


A person or business involved in a court case in a role like plaintiff, petitioner, defendant, respondent, or intervenor.


A document that lets a person travel outside the country


The person who will receive payment


Someone who pays a payment, including an obligor's employer


A type of document that can be viewed and printed from many devices


Money paid to a person by an employer during retirement


When someone promises to tell the truth in a court case, and then tells a lie

Personal jurisdiction

The authority of the court to make a decision that affects the parties in the case


(noun) A written request to a court (verb) To request from a court


Cases that appear on the official court calendar. It is in response to the filing of a petition or other legal request for the court to pass judgment on the youth. They might determine to send them to criminal court to be tried as an adult.


A person who makes a written request to a court


Cases in which youth are removed from their homes and placed elsewhere

Placement facility type

Whether a juvenile placement facility is publicly or privately owned or operated

Placement status

Categories of juveniles held in residential placement facilities


A person or party that starts a lawsuit


A person's formal answer of guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges against them

Plenary order of protection

A long-term order granted by a judge telling an abuser to stop further domestic abuse. Done after both parties had a chance to present their case.

PO box

Post office box, an individual box for mail at a post office


Stealing things from another person's possession in a sneaky way. The victim doesn't notice it was stolen right away.

Police report

When a police officer writes a description of what happened at an accident


A court decision made in an earlier case. It sets up a rule that judges will usually follow when deciding a similar case in the same area.


A district of a city or town

Preliminary injunction

An order issued by a judge that stops the defendant from doing a certain activity. This is usually until a full hearing with a judge.


Money that must be paid every month, such as for health insurance

Prenuptial agreement

An agreement made before marriage. It explains how issues of support and property will be resolved when the marriage ends.

Presiding judge

In a court with more than one judge, the judge that acts as the leader of the court's business

Presiding justice

In a court with more than one justice, the justice that acts as the leader of the court's business

Private facilities

Facilities run by private organizations

Pro bono

Legal work done for little or no cost

Pro se

Pronounced 'pro say,' a person who does not have a lawyer


A court process where a person's property is given out after they die


A criminal court sentence which releases a person into the community. They are under supervision and given certain conditions.

Process server

Someone other than a sheriff who serves a summons

Promoting prostitution

To assist or promote prostitution in any way. This can include the solicitation of customers. Also includes transit of people for prostitution purposes and owning or operating a place where prostitution is done.

Proof of service

A form that explains how court papers were given to someone in a court case

Property crime index

Property crimes tracked by the FBI. They include burglary, larceny theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

Prostitution offenses

To participate in or encourage sexual activities for payment

Protected class

A group of people who get special protection against discrimination

Public defender

A free lawyer appointed by the criminal court when a defendant cannot afford to pay for a lawyer

Public facilities

Places operated by state or local government agencies

Punitive damages

Money awarded in a case meant to punish a losing party. It's usually above the real cost of the injury.


The grabbing of a purse from the possession of another person

Putative father registry

A registry of men who think they may be the father of a child. They were not married to the mother at the time of birth. The father wants a say in whether the child is adopted.

Real Estate

Property consisting of land or buildings like a house or an apartment

Reasonable accommodation

A change to a location or job that will help a person with a disability

Recorder of deeds

Government office that keeps records and documents on property ownership

Registered agent

The person who receives notice of legal actions when a corporation is sued


A person who has a petition filed against them


A formal written answer to the plaintiff or petitioner's written statement


Punishing a person for doing something that is legally protected

Return date

The deadline for a defendant or respondent to file an appearance or other required response

Return receipt

Proof of delivery with the recipient's signature, and the date and time of delivery


Cancel or take back


To take or attempt to take anything from another person by force or intimidation

Rule to show cause

A petition used when one party believes the other party has violated a court order or judgment

Running away

Leaving the home of parents or guardians without permission. They do not return within a reasonable length of time.


Released without charging


When a judge penalizes a party


A processing center that handles child support payments. It's called the State Disbursement Unit.


When a criminal record is hidden from most of the general public, but not law enforcement

Security deposit

A payment the tenant makes to the landlord at the start of a lease. It can be used if the tenant doesn't pay rent or damages the rental unit.


Giving court documents to someone

Service by publication

Notifying someone about a case by publishing a notice in a newspaper


To resolve a case before finishing a trial

Settlement agreement

An agreement by both sides in a lawsuit that settles all the issues of the case without going to trial

Sex offenses

Any sexual act without the consent of the victim, including when the victim cannot give consent. Includes sexual assault with or without an object, sexual abuse, sodomy, and fondling

Sex offenses (nonforcible)

Nonforcible sexual intercourse, including incest and statutory rape

Sexual assault

When a person commits an act of sexual penetration by force or threat of force. Done without the consent of the victim. This includes when the victim cannot give consent.

Sexual assault with object

To use an object to penetrate the genital or anal opening of the body of another person. Done against that person's will or in when the victim cannot give consent.

Sexual conduct

Touching or fondling a person's sex organs, anus, or breast directly or through clothing. Can also be any part of the body of a child under 13 years of age. It includes any transfer of semen upon any part of the clothed or unclothed body.


A county officer who can serve people with summons. They can evict someone with a court order.


The theft of goods from a retail store

Significant decision-making responsibility

Deciding important, long-term issues for the child and how they are raised. This includes their education, religion, and after-school activities.

Simple assault

The attack of another person which does not involve a weapon or severe injury

Small claim

A lawsuit asking only for money, for $10, 000 or less

Social security disability

A federal program that gives money to people who cannot work because of a disability

Social security number

A number that the federal government gives to each U.S. citizen. It keeps track of their earnings and retirement benefits.


Oral or anal sexual intercourse against another person’s will or in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

Sports tampering

To interfere with a sporting contest or event. Done for the purpose of gaining a gambling advantage to get the upper hand while gambling.


When a person follows someone, watches them outside their home or office, or tells them things they observed them doing

Standard deduction

A fixed dollar amount that reduces the income a person is taxed on. They have the option of claiming the standard deduction or itemizing their deductions. But, they can't claim both in the same year.


The right to file a lawsuit or make a particular legal claim based on how the person is affected.

State's attorney

A lawyer who represents the state in a criminal case

Statement of facts

Any written or oral list of facts in a court case

Status offense

An offense that is illegal for underage persons, but not for adults

Statutes of limitations

Length of time to file a suit in court before a person is no longer legally able to

Statutory rape

Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent

Stay order

A court order that delays a court case or something else from going into effect


An agreement between opposing parties regarding a particular fact in a case. It can also be an agreement regarding an action in the case, like extending a deadline.

Stolen property offenses

To interfere with a sporting contest or event to get the upper hand in gambling


A court order requiring someone to show up in court, usually to give information


A tenant who will share the rental payments. They can also take over from the first tenant in the apartment.

Summary judgment

A court decision made by a judge on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the court record without a trial


A notice to a defendant that a lawsuit against them was filed in a court and that the defendant has to show up in court

Supervised visitation

Visitation between a parent and a child. Done in the presence of another adult. It is now known as supervised parenting time.

Supplemental security income

A federal program that gives money to low-income elderly, blind and disabled people on a monthly basis

Supporting parent

Parent who pays child support


A temporary stop of a law

Tax bracket

The group a person is in for tax purposes that decides what percent of income they must pay

Tax credit

Can reduce the amount of tax a person owes or increase their tax refund

Tax liability

The amount of money a person has to pay in taxes

Tax refund

The money a person gets back if they had too much money withheld for taxes during the year

Taxable income

A person's gross income minus deductions and exemptions

Temporary restraining order

A temporary order from a judge telling someone to not do something

Tenancy in common

A type of ownership in which the owners can have equal or unequal shares. If one owner dies, their share goes to their estate


A person who rents a space


When something ends


When someone dies with a will


To answer questions under oath


Evidence given orally by witnesses


The unlawful taking of property, money, or services from another person, business, or organization

Theft from building

A theft from a building which is either open to the general public or where the offender has legal access


A private or civil wrong that causes harm


Unlawful entry or attempted entry of the property of another


When the issues of a case are heard in court and decided by a judge or jury


Violation of required school attendance law


A person that has custody of or control over funds or items of another


A case where neither side is going to fight over the issues

Underage drinking

Possession, use, or consumption of alcohol by a minor

Uniform Crime Report (UCR) Crime Index

Reports on crime data published by the FBI

Uniform order for support

A child support order approved and signed by a judge


To willfully damage property without the consent of the owner


The particular location where the case should be filed based on case-related events that happened there


A judge or jury's decision, or final ruling, about a case. In a criminal case, a verdict is whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.


Time spent between a child and a person who is not the parent

Wage assignment

A voluntary agreement by an employee to transfer (or assign) parts of future wage payments to pay a debt

Wage attachment

An automatic transfer of a portion of an employee's wage payment to repay a debt

Wage deduction

When a debtor's money is taken out of their paycheck or bank account to pay for a debt they owe

Wage garnishment

A legal procedure that requires the employer of a judgment debtor to withhold a portion of their wages to satisfy a judgment

Wage withholding

A legal procedure that allows deductions to be made from wages or income on a regular schedule. The deductions are used to pay a debt, like child support.


The amount of money that a person is paid for work they do


To give up a legal right or pardon a fee

Waived to criminal court

Cases that are transferred to criminal court as the result of a waiver hearing in juvenile court


A document that gives up a legal right or excuses a requirement


A person who has a guardian appointed by the court to care for and take responsibility for them

Warranty of habitability

A promise that rental property will be fit for people to live in

Weapon law violations

The violation of laws regulating weapons

Welfare fraud

Wrongfully obtaining or using public assistance

Wire fraud

The use of electric or electronic communications to transmit a false message for the purpose of fraud


When an employer keeps some of a person's paycheck to cover their taxes


A person who answers questions in court under oath