How Well Do You Know Legal Lingo?


By: J.P. Naomi

5 Min Quiz

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

You want a brief recess before you submit your plea bargain? I object! Take this quiz to test how well you know the most common legal jargon of today's court system.

What is an agreement between two or more parties to do or refrain from doing something?

Contacts often involve a promise of something in return for something of value. There are both written and oral contracts, though in some states oral contracts have little or no standing.


What is the name of a person who testifies what they saw, heard, observed or did?

Often witnesses are afraid to testify for fear of retaliation by the defendant or his or her associates.


This type of law refers to that which is non-criminal...

Civil law usually refers to settling disputes between private citizens or entities.


This is to testify or give under oath or sworn affidavit.

A person is deposed during a deposition. No judges are present, though the testimony given can be used in court.


Whereas a juvenile is under the age of 16, a ______ is under the age of 18.

A minor does not have the rights and privileges of an adult - however an 'emancipated' minor does. Emancipation is the release of a youth from the legal authority and control of the parents.


This is an attorney who is appointed by the court and paid for by the state when a defendant is unable to hire a private attorney...

Public defenders tend to gather at the court house in the morning and wait to be assigned to defendants as arraignments take place.


If a defendant cuts a deal with the prosecutor to avoid trial, this is called a _________.

A plea bargain usually involves pleading guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence by the defendant.


Due ________ denotes what a responsible person would do under the same conditions.

Diligence is reasonable care or attention to a matter. Examples are washing your hands before cooking and looking both ways at a stop sign.


You may try to get a ____________ in order to protect yourself from physical abuse by another person...

Oftentimes a temporary restraining order may be issued for 10 days - at which time both parties must appear in court to plead their side.


What is the document that serves as evidence of ownership of property?

Real estate deeds and titles for cars and boats are examples of a title. Titles are always required during a sale of one of these items.


A _______ is a wrongful or illegal act causing harm to another person or their property.

The word 'tort' comes from the French word for “wrong.”


A _________ is a criminal offense for which a person may be sentenced to prison for more than one year.

A misdemeanor, on the other hand, is a crime that carries a maximum penalty of only one year, and/or a $2,000 fine.


What is a court order to collect money or property?

A garnishment may be issued to an employer to pay part of an employee’s wages to someone else to pay a debt or judgment. Child support is an example.


"______ contest" is a plea in a criminal case that allows the defendant to be convicted without admitting guilt for the crime charged.

No Contest is also called "Nolo Contendre." By pleading no contest, the defendant can deny the charges in a civil action based on the same acts.


What is it called when members of a jury cannot reconcile their differences and produce a verdict?

If a hung jury is declared, the entire case must start over from scratch.


A ______ is a person who is not a judge, but who is authorized to hear and decide certain types of cases.

An example of a magistrate is a Family Support Magistrate who hears and decides outcomes of child support cases.


What is a command to appear in court to testify as a witness?

You may also -- or instead -- receive a "Subpoena Duces Tecum," which is a legal paper requiring you to produce documents or records for a trial.


This is the process of questioning prospective jurors or witnesses about their qualifications...

Voir Dire is a French phrase meaning "to speak the truth".


________ is testimony given by a witness who tells second or third hand information.

Hearsay is not considered to be credible information. It is recommended that witnesses only relay information which they know first hand.


When someone has disobeyed a court order, it is known as ___________.

Contempt of Court can also hold meaning for disrupting the court - being loud or disrespectful in court.


This is a court document which declares that a marriage is invalid.

When a married couple gets a divorce, their marriage is annulled. The document is known as the annulment.


This is another word for "bond."

Bail is the money or property given to the court for the temporary release of a defendant. Bail or bond ensures that the defendant will return to court.


A _________ is a written document prepared by a lawyer and filed with the court in support of their arguments.

Briefs are written by lawyers, or a party on each side of a dispute presented in the court.


Money that is ordered to be paid by the defendant to the victim, to reimburse the victim for the costs of the crime is called...

Restitution generally makes good ​or gives the equivalent for any loss, damage or injury caused by a person's actions. It is often a condition of probation.


To ________ a court order is to cancel or rescind it...

A judge will vacate a court order if there has been a major update to a case. Usually this comes in the form of new evidence in favor of the defendant.


What is "Lis Pendens"?

Lis Pendens is jurisdiction or control that courts have over property in a case waiting for final disposition. A notice of lis pendens is filed on the land records.


A juvenile delinquent is someone under the age of ____ who commits a criminal act.

Juveniles proceedings are held in Juvenile Court. This is also known as Superior Court for Juvenile Matters.


The elected member of a jury who delivers the verdict to the court is known as the ______.

When the verdict is read, only one member of the jury speaks. This person is known as the foreman.


A petitioner or a complainant who sues or starts a civil case is called the ___________.

The plaintiff sues and provides evidence which the defendant must prove otherwise.


If you ______ bond, you have paid the court the ordered bond amount via cash or property.

To post bond means that a defendant is free to go home until their next court proceeding.


When the plaintiff is finished presenting evidence in a court case, they ______.

"The prosecution rests" and "The defense rests" are phrases one may hear in court following the presentation of evidence and witnesses. It is then up to the jury to decide the fate of the case.


A 'states attorney' is also known as a ___________.

Prosecutors represent the state in criminal cases. Often the head state attorney is elected and employs numerous assistant state attorneys.


You may find yourself in Small Claims Court if you want to recover damages or money up to $_________.

In small claims court, the rules of evidence are relaxed and people often represent themselves instead of hiring a lawyer.


A _______ is a dispute resolution process not involving a judge.

During a mediation, an impartial third party assists both sides in voluntarily reaching a mutually acceptable settlement of a dispute. No judge is present.


You are considered out on __________ if you have been released from incarceration after serving part of your sentence...

Incarcerated individuals who are eligible for parole will have a parole hearing. Individuals related to the case may speak for or against the early release of a convicted person.


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