criminal law and procedure

Acceptance of Service

Definition

Agreement by the defendant (or the defendant's attorney) to accept papers or a complaint without having the papers served by a process server or a sheriff. Acceptance of service is accomplished by signing a "receipt and acknowledgment of...

Accessory

Definition

Someone aiding in or contributing to the commission or concealment of a felony, e.g. by assisting in planning or encouraging another to commit a crime (an accessory before the fact) or by helping another escape arrest or punishment (an...

Accessory After The Fact

Definition

An accessory-after-the-fact is someone who assists 1) someone who has committed a crime, 2) after the person has committed the crime, 3) with knowledge that the person committed the crime, and 4) with the intent to help the person avoid...

Accessory Before The Fact

Definition

A person who aids, abets, or encourages another to commit a crime but who is not present at the scene. An accessory before the fact, like an accomplice, may be held criminally liable to the same extent as the principal. Many jurisdictions...

Accomplice

Definition

A person who knowingly, voluntarily, or intentionally gives assistance to another in (or in some cases fails to prevent another from) the commission of a crime. An accomplice is criminally liable to the same extent as the principal. An...

Accomplice Witness

Definition

Someone who is both a witness to a crime and an accomplice in that same crime. In some states, a defendant may not be convicted solely on the basis of an accomplice witness' testimony.

Illustrative case law

See, e.g. Cool v. U.S., 409 U....

Accusation

Definition

1) Formally charging a person with a crime either by a prosecuting attorney filing charges against or through a grand jury indictment of that person. 2) Informally stating that a person has committed an illegal or immoral act.

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Accused

Definition

A person who has been arrested for or formally charged with a crime.

Illustrative case law

Regarding rights of the accused, see, e.g. Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966).

See alsoAccusationRights of Accused in Criminal...

Acquit

Definition

To find a defendant in a criminal trial not guilty.

See alsoAcquittalDouble jeopardy

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