Glossary of Terms

Background Checks A to Z.

woman with binoculars

Glossary of Terms



Acquittal: A not-guilty verdict/disposition absolving an accused party of guilt. Release or absolution.

Acquitted-Non-Conviction: The charges against the defendant are dropped.

Adjudication: The ability to automate a judgment based on background screening outcome. This judgment often results in “meets requirements” or “does not meet requirements” outcome. Once adjudication takes place automatic distribution and/or adverse action can occur.

Adjudicated Guilty – Conviction: The defendant has been found guilty of the charges.

Adjudication Withheld – Non-conviction: The court does not give a final judgment regarding the case. The defendant is given probation, a program or community service for which they have a specified amount of time to complete. If the defendant complies, the case may be dismissed, depending on the county/state. If they do not dismiss in that particular county/state, then the disposition remains adjudication withheld and the case is closed. However, if the defendant is found in violation, the case disposition may be changed and the defendant can be found guilty.

Adulterated specimen: A specimen that contains a substance that is not expected to be present in human urine, or contains a substance expected to be present but is at a concentration so high that it is not consistent with human urine.

Amphetamines:  (Bennies, black beauties, crystal, speed, uppers, crank) Obetrol, Biphetamine,
Desoxyn, Dexedrine, Direx.

ARD Program – Non-conviction: Mostly found in the state of Pennsylvania, this stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program.” This program is given to the defendant in place of adjudication. If the defendant completes the program, the case is closed.


Bail/Bond Forfeiture – Non-conviction: The charges against the defendant are dropped. Not enough evidence to convict. The defendant forfeits or pays their bond in place of going to trial.

“Ban the Box”: Refers to the box to be checked on a job application asking if an applicant has a criminal record. Depending on legislation, which varies by jurisdiction, employers may need to remove questions about criminal history from the initial job application, and postpone such questions until later in the hiring process.

Barbiturates: (Barbs, rainbows, downers, golfballs, reds, blues) Penobarbital, Tuinal, Amytal,
Nembutal, Seconal, Lotusate, Fiorinal, Fioricet, Esgic, Butisol, Mebaral, Butabarbital, Butabital, Phrenilin, Triad.

Bench Warrant: A process ordered by the court, while the court is hearing a case, directing a law enforcement agency to bring a specified individual before the court. The warrants are open until withdrawn by order of the court or the person who is subject of the warrant appears in court.

Benzodiazepines: Ativan, Azene, Clonopin, Dalmane, Diazepam, Librium, Xanax, Serax,Tranxene, Valium, Verstran, Halcion, Paxipam, Restoril, Centrax.

Bind over: To order the defendant to appear in court. The term is also used when a case is shifted from a lower court to a higher court.

Blind specimen or blind performance test specimen: A specimen submitted to a laboratory for quality control testing purposes, with a fictitious identifier, so that the laboratory cannot distinguish it from an employee specimen.

Bond/Bail: A certificate of obligation, either unsecured or secured with collateral, to secure compliance with bail obligations of the defendant to the court. Normally an obligation to appear as ordered before the court.

Bond Forfeiture: Bond forfeiture occurs when defendant has failed to appear at court as ordered or has violated some other requirement.


Cancelled test: A drug or alcohol test that has a problem identified that cannot be or has not been corrected, or which otherwise requires to be cancelled. A cancelled test is neither a positive nor a negative test.

Cannabinoids: (Marijuana, hashish, maryjane, grass, reefer, pot, dope, etc.) Marinol (Dronabinol,

Capias: The Latin meaning is “That You Take”. This is the name for several types of writs which require that a law enforcement official take a named defendant into custody.

Chain of Custody: The procedure used to document the handling of the urine specimen from the time the employee gives the specimen to the collector until the specimen is destroyed. This procedure uses the Federal Drug Testing Custody and Control Form (CCF).

Charge: In criminal law, a charge is an allegation that an individual has committed a specific offense.

Citation: An order issued by a law enforcement officer requiring appearance in court to answer a charge. Normally this relates to low level infractions.

Cocaine: (Coke, crack, blow, nose candy, toot, snow) Cocaine HCI topical solution (Roxanne).

Collection Site: A place selected by the employer where employees present themselves for the purpose of providing a urine specimen for a drug test.

Concurrent Sentences: Two or more terms of imprisonment served simultaneously.

Conditional Discharge – Non-conviction: The defendant has no finding of guilt. The court is discharging him/her from trial on special conditions that they must follow. If they do not abide by these conditions, the discharge may be revoked and the finding may become guilty.

Conditional Release: The release from a correctional facility before full sentence has been served which is conditioned on specific behavior. If conditions are not met, the individual may be returned to the facility.

Confirmation (or confirmatory) validity test: A second test performed on a urine specimen to further support a validity test result.

Confirmed drug test: A confirmation test result received by an MRO from a laboratory.

Consent Decree – Conviction: This is found in New Mexico. It is designed as a disposition for juvenile cases in which the defendant pleads guilty and is placed on the decree/probation for six months.

Consecutive Sentences: Multiple sentences, served one after the other.

Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA): A bureau that gathers and provides information about individuals – such as if they pay their bills on time or have filed bankruptcy – to creditors, employers, and landlords. Companies that perform pre-employment screening services are also considered CRA’s and are governed by the FCRA, as are the employers that use background screening services.

Conditional Sentence:  Sentence to confinement if the defendant fails to perform conditions of probation.

Controlled Substances:

  • Schedule I Controlled Substances
    Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of substances listed in Schedule I are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”).
  • Schedule II Controlled Substances
    Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of Schedule II narcotics include: hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze®, Duragesic®). Other Schedule II narcotics include: morphine, opium, and codeine. Examples of Schedule II stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), and methylphenidate (Ritalin®). Other Schedule II substances include: amobarbital, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.
  • Schedule III Controlled Substances
    Substances in this schedule have a potential for abuse less than substances in Schedules I or II and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence. Examples of Schedule III narcotics include: combination products containing less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin®), products containing not more than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with Codeine®), and buprenorphine (Suboxone®). Examples of Schedule III non-narcotics include: benzphetamine (Didrex®), phendimetrazine, ketamine, and anabolic steroids such as Depo®-Testosterone.
  • Schedule IV Controlled Substances
    Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III. Examples of Schedule IV substances include: alprazolam (Xanax®), carisoprodol (Soma®), clonazepam (Klonopin®), clorazepate (Tranxene®), diazepam (Valium®), lorazepam (Ativan®), midazolam (Versed®), temazepam (Restoril®), and triazolam (Halcion®).
  • Schedule V Controlled Substances
    Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in Schedule IV and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Examples of Schedule V substances include: cough preparations containing not more than 200 milligrams of codeine per 100 milliliters or per 100 grams (Robitussin AC®, Phenergan with Codeine®), and ezogabine.

Convicted – Conviction: The defendant is found guilty of the charges.

Cumulative Sentence: A sentence that takes effect after a prior sentence is completed for crimes tried within the same case.


De Novo: Latin for “anew” or “afresh”. Usually used as Trial De Novo. New trial or one that is held for a second time, as if there had been no previous trial or decision.

Dead Docket – Non-conviction: Often seen in Fulton, Georgia, there is not enough evidence that shows the defendant is guilty or that he is innocent. The case is set aside. If not brought back up, case is closed.

Deferred Adjudication/Judgment – Non-conviction: The defendant has no finding of guilt. The judgment is set-aside for a deferred amount of time and the defendant must comply with any conditions given to him/her. The case can be dismissed depending on the county/state if the defendant completes all requirements.

Deferred Adjudication of Guilt: The final judgment is delayed for a period of time. Can be likened to probation before a final verdict. If “probation” is completed without incident, the charges are usually dropped and the case is dismissed. During the “probationary period” the disposition is not necessarily considered a conviction. It is an open case. Similar to Adjudication withheld or deferred judgments.

Deferred Discharge: Dismissed and considered a non-conviction.

Deferred Judgment: A deferred judgment refers to a postponed or delayed judgment. In a deferred judgment, the court gives a defendant an opportunity to complete a probationary period before sentencing and prior to any entry of conviction.

Deferred Probation: The judge doesn’t make a finding of guilt; defendant is assigned probation. If probation is completed without incident, the charges are usually dropped.

Deferred Sentence: Postponement of the pronouncement of the sentence.

Delayed Sentence: See Deferred Probation.

Diluted specimen: A specimen with creatinine and specific gravity values that are lower than expected for human urine.

Directed Verdict: A determination by a jury, made at the direction of the judge. A directed verdict happens in cases where there has been a lack of evidence, an overwhelming amount of evidence, or where the law is in favor of one of the parties to the extent that reasonable jurors could not decide otherwise.

Dismissed-Non-Conviction: The charges against the defendant are dropped. Not enough evidence to convict.

Dismissal Without Leave After Deferred Prosecution: Charges dismissed after specified time, e.g. 90 days to 1 year, provided certain conditions have been met such as participating in specified program of anger control or drug counseling or providing community service, etc.

Disparate Impact: Employment practices may be considered discriminatory and illegal if they have a disproportionate “adverse impact” on members of a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Disparate Treatment: Disparate Treatment happens when an individual of a protected class is intentionally singled out and treated less favorable than others similarly situated on the basis of an impermissible criterion under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Disposed/Disposition: The final settlement in the matter. Examples of disposed cases are those with a finding of guilt (conviction), innocence, or acquittal.

Diversion Program: To set aside. A court direction which calls a defendant, who has been found guilty, to attend a work or educational program as part of probation. May include some type of anger management, drug rehab, etc. If the condition of program is met, charge may be considered non-conviction.


Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): A system of employment practices regulated by the EEOC under which individuals are not excluded from any participation, advancement, or benefits due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or any other action that cannot lawfully be the basis for employment actions.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The federal agency responsible for administration of several statutes that prohibit discrimination; has power to subpoena witnesses, issue guidelines that have the force of law, render decisions, provide technical assistance to employers, and provide legal assistance to complainants.

Expunge/Expunged: When a record of an offense is expunged it will not appear on a released criminal history. The record may be destroyed or sealed after a certain period of time. Records may be expunged in juvenile cases, or upon satisfactory completion of a court-ordered probation and/ or class(s). Law enforcement agencies may still have access to these records.

Extended Workforce: The portion of a company’s workforce made up of temporary employees, vendor employees and independent contractors.


Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): The FCRA is designed to protect individuals, by promoting accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of every Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA). Companies that perform pre-employment screening services are governed by the FCRA, as are the employers that use background screening services.

Felony: A serious offense carrying a penalty of incarceration from one year to life in a state prison, to the death penalty.

Form I-9: Federal form required of all appointees to verify their U.S. citizenship, or if they are aliens, their eligibility for employment in accordance with the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1986.

Fugitive File – The case has not been to trial: Found in Virginia. The case has not been to trial at this time. A warrant, summons or paper from the district attorney’s office was issued for delivery to the defendant to appear for trial; however, the defendant could not be located. Therefore, the case is technically pending; however, the paperwork was never served.


Grand Jury: A body of persons with the authority to investigate and accuse, but not to try cases. The grand jury will listen to and review evidence to see if there are sufficient grounds to bring the charges against an individual.

Gross: Flagrant, out of measure.

Gross Misdemeanor: Serious misdemeanor.

Guilty in Absentia – Conviction: The jury has found the defendant guilty without them having appeared in court.

Guilty-Conviction: It has been proven that the defendant committed the crime.


Habeas corpus: Latin, meaning “you have the body.” A writ of habeas corpus generally is a judicial order forcing law enforcement authorities to produce a prisoner they are holding, and to justify the prisoner’s continued confinement. Federal judges receive petitions for a writ of habeas corpus from state prison inmates who say their state prosecutions violated federally protected rights in some way.


Ignored – Non-conviction: The case never went to trial. It was ignored by the state.

Indictment: A formal, written accusation made by the grand jury.

Information: A formal written accusation made by the prosecuting attorney when a grand jury indictment is not necessary.

Infraction: Violation of local ordinance or state statute usually resulting in a fine or limited period of incarceration. Term usually used in traffic offenses and offenses less than a misdemeanor.

Injunction: A court order which prohibits a person from doing a specified act for a specified period of time.

Involuntary Dismissal/ “Failure to Prosecute” : Dismissed due to lack of prosecution or lack of evidence.


Judgment: The official decision of a court finally resolving the dispute between the parties to the lawsuit.

Jurisdiction: the legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case. It also is used as a synonym for venue, meaning the geographic area over which the court has territorial jurisdiction to decide cases.

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

Juvenile: A person under the age of 18, also referred to as a youth or minor.


Knowingly and willfully: In reference to a statue, means consciously and intentionally.


Lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty which resulted in harm to the plaintiff.

Lien: A charge on specific property that is designed to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation. A debtor may still be responsible for a lien after a discharge.

Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.

Liquidated claim: A creditor’s claim for a fixed amount of money.


Medical Review Officer (MRO): A person who is a licensed physician and who is responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory results generated by an employer’s drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results.

Methadone: Dolphine, Methadose.

Methaqualone: (Ludes, qualude, optimil, parest) Not legal by prescription.

Minor: A person under the age of 18, also referred to as a juvenile or youth.

Misdemeanor: Crime punishable by a fine and/or county jail time for up to one year; not a felony.

Misdemeanor Intervention Program – Non-conviction: A program designated only for misdemeanor offenses in which the defendant may comply to the conditions of the program in order to avoid conviction.


Negotiated Plea: An agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor.

No Action-Non-Conviction: The court dropped the case and did not continue with the charges.

No Bill or No True Bill: The decision by a grand jury that it will not bring indictment against the accused on the basis of the allegations and evidence presented by the prosecutor.

No Billed-Non-Conviction: The district attorney never sent the case to court and it was not tried.

No Contest: A plea in which the defendant does not contest the charge. This has the same effect as a guilty please except the conviction cannot be used against the defendant in a civil suit.

No Information Filed-Non-Conviction: Mostly found in Florida. It means the case has been dropped.

No Papered – Non-conviction: The paperwork was never sent to the court by the District Attorney and the case was never filed. Therefore, it was never brought to trial.

No Probable Cause: There was not sufficient reason to bring case to trial.

Nolle Prosequi: Prosecutor has declared that he will not prosecute the case at this time.

Nolle Prosse – Non-conviction: Latin for “Not Prosecuted.” This means there was not enough evidence to convict the defendant. The case is dropped.

Nolo Contendre – Conviction: Latin for “No Contest.” The defendant has pled no contest to the charges against him or her, therefore the court finds the defendant guilty.

Non-Adjudication of Guilt – Non-conviction: The court does not give a final judgment regarding the case. The defendant is given probation, a program or community service in which they have a specified amount of time to complete. If the defendant complies, the case may be dismissed, depending on the county/state. If they do not dismiss in that particular county /state, then the disposition remains adjudication withheld and the case is closed. However, if the defendant is found in violation, the case disposition may be changed and the defendant can be found guilty.

Not Guilty-Non-Conviction: A jury or judge trial finding that the defendant is innocent.


Opiates: (Heroin, horse, smack, powder) Paregoric, Prepectolin, Donnagel PG, Morphine, Tylenol with Codeine, Empirin with Codeine, APAP with Codeine, Aspirin with Codeine, Robitusin AC, Guituss AC, Novahistine DM, Novahistine Expectorant, Dilaudid (Hydromorphine), M-S Contin and Roxanol (morphine and sulfate), Percodan, Vicodin.

Other – Non-conviction: Defendant is given special provisions for one year to abide by since this is a first offense. If no further violation of the same nature occurs, case is closed.


Parole: To release from confinement after serving part of a sentence, usually with terms and conditions provided in the parole order.

Parole Violation: An act that does not conform to the terms of parole.

Penalty: After conviction for a crime, money fine or forfeiture of property ordered by the judge.

Pending: The case has not been to trial at this time so there is no disposition to report.

Plea: The defendant’s formal answer to a charge; e.g. not guilty, Nolo Contendre, guilty.

Plea Bargain: A plea of guilty to a lesser offense in return for a lighter sentence. See Negotiated Plea.

Phencyclidine: (PCP, angel dust) Not legal by prescription.

Pled Guilty-Conviction: The defendant has pled guilty to the charges against him or her and the court accepts the plea as a conviction.

Prayer for Judgment – Non-conviction: Often seen in North Carolina, it falls under deferred prosecution, meaning the state did not prosecute. For example, with worthless checks it gives the defendant a chance to pay the check before being charged.

Preliminary Hearing: Meeting before the judge to determine if a person charged with a felony should be tried for that crime, based on some substantial evidence that they committed the crime. Preliminary hearings are held in the lowest local court.

Pre-Sentence Diagnostic/Investigation/Evaluation: When an offender has been convicted of a crime but not sentenced, a diagnostic report is prepared at the request of the court to help determine the appropriate sentence.

Pre-Trial Intervention/Diversion – Non-conviction: A program the defendant is placed in before going to trial. If the defendant complies prior to trial time, the trial will not be held for the charge and the defendant is not convicted.

Primary specimen: In drug testing, the urine specimen bottle that is opened and tested by a first laboratory to determine whether the employee has a drug or drug metabolite in his or her system and is used for the purpose of validity testing. The primary specimen is distinguished from the split specimen, defined in this section.

Process Other – Non-conviction: Defendant was not charged on this count due to being charged for another count.

Probation: Relief of all or part of a confinement sentence on the promise of proper conduct.

Propoxyphene: Darvocet, Darvon N, Dolene


Quash: To nullify, void or declare invalid.

Quid Pro Quo: Latin, meaning “what for what” or “something for something.” The concept of getting something of value in return for giving something of value.


Refused – Non-conviction: The case never went to trial. The state refused to hear the case.

Rejected – Non-conviction: The case never went to trial. The state rejected the hearing of the case.

Remand: To return an individual to custody pending further trial, or to return a case from an appellate to a lower court for further proceedings.

Responsible – Non-conviction: The defendant is responsible for the payment of the fines or fees of the crime. They are not found in guilt, however, must pay what they are ordered. Often found on traffic tickets or minor violations.

Restraining Order: An order prohibiting a specified action until such time that a hearing on an application for an injunction can be held.

Retired (as Disposition): This term has been associated with Summer County, Tennessee, but its use is common throughout Tennessee. Retired is the term used by the criminal court at the end of what is commonly referred to in the industry as a deferred sentence. If the defendant successfully completes probation the case is “retired”, i.e. dismissed. The state also has a “retired docket” which is similar to a disposition docket in other states, for inactive cases. Inactive Cases may be dismissed if there is not a good reason for the inactivity of at least one year.

Returned Un-served: Found in North Carolina. The case has not been to trial at this time. A warrant, summons or paper from the district attorney’s office was issued for delivery to the defendant to appear for trial; however, the defendant could not be located. Therefore, the case is technically pending; however, the paperwork was never served.


Sealed Records: Court records or decisions that a judge orders kept from public view. Generally, law enforcement agencies have access to.

Sentence: A judgment of punishment for a criminal act.

  • Determinate Sentence: A fixed period of time: 10 years.
  • General Sentence: Punishment for all charges in a case without individual sentences for each offense.
  • Indeterminate Sentence: An unspecified duration of confinement such as 10 to 20 years.
  • Intermittent Sentence: Sentence that contains periods of freedom such as allowing defendant to go to work or school during the day.
  • Successive Sentence: Imposition of the penalty one after the other for each of several crimes as compared to concurrent sentences which happen at the same time. See Consecutive Sentence.
  • Suspended Sentence: Deferment of punishment usually over a period of probation.

Split specimen: In drug testing, a part of the urine specimen that is sent to a first laboratory and retained unopened, and which is transported to a second laboratory in the event that the employee requests that it be tested following a verified positive test of the primary specimen or a verified adulterated or substituted test result.

Stay(of Proceedings): A ruling by the court in civil and criminal procedure, halting further legal process in a trial. The court can subsequently lift the stay and resume proceedings. However, a stay is sometimes used as a device to postpone proceedings indefinitely.

Stet Docket – Non-conviction: Will not prosecute at this time. Eligible to be re-opened for one year if a violation is committed during that time. After the one-year period and no violations have been committed, it cannot be re-opened and the case is closed.

Stricken Off Leave – Non-conviction: Often seen in Illinois, the case has been stricken off docket with the ability to reinstate at a later date if deemed that the case can be prosecuted. This is often because the prosecutors run out of time to prosecute.

Substituted specimen: A specimen with creatinine and specific gravity values that are so diminished that they are not consistent with human urine.

Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS): In Missouri, SIS is a sentencing option available to the trial court. In SIS, usually the defendant is placed on probation. If the defendant violates probation and faces revocation the judge may order any sentence within the full range of punishment for the crime. If the defendant successfully completes probation, no sentence is actually ordered.


Tactical Officer: A police officer who works in plain clothes and concentrates on vice and narcotics arrests.

Temporary Injunction: Usually used to prevent threatened injury, maintain the status quo, or preserve the subject matter of the litigation during trial.

Temporary Relief: Any form of action by a court granting one of the parties an order to protect its interest pending further action by the court.

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): An emergency remedy of brief duration issued by a court only in exceptional circumstances, usually when immediate or irreparable damages or loss might result before the opposition could take action.

Third Party Complaint: A petition filed by a defendant against a third party which alleges that the third party is liable for all or part of the damages plaintiff may win from the defendant.

Time Served: Period a criminal defendant has been in jail, often while awaiting bail or awaiting trial. Often times a judge will give a defendant credit for time served.

Tort: A wrong; a private or civil wrong or injury resulting from a breach of a legal duty that exists by virtue of society’s expectations regarding interpersonal conduct, rather than by contract or other private relationship.

Transfer Cases: Cases going from one court or one jurisdiction to another.

Transmittal Form: Form required in certain courts for transmitting documents for filing.

Trial: A judicial examination of issues between parties to an action. In a criminal case, the action would be between the state and the defendant.

Tried As An Adult: A juvenile charged with a serious felony and is older than an age set in the state’s statute, and the case, upon order of the court, is transferred from juvenile court to regular criminal court. These records are not sealed but are public records.


U.S. trustee: An officer of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and trustees; monitoring plans and disclosure statements; monitoring creditors’ committees; monitoring fee applications; and performing other statutory duties.

Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act: Law that allows an order of child support issued in one state to be enforced in another state.

Unlawful detainer action: A lawsuit brought by a landlord against a tenant to evict the tenant from rental property – usually for nonpayment of rent.

Unsecured: In bankruptcy proceedings, for the purpose of filing a claim, a claim is unsecured if there is no collateral, or to the extent the value of collateral is less than the amount of the debt.


Vacate: To make void; to cancel.

Venir: A writ summoning persons to court as Voir dire:
French, meaning “to speak truth.”  The examination of a jury panel by the judge, defense counsel and the state attorney to determine qualifications of the prospective jurors and any basis for challenge.

Venue: The geographic area in which a court has jurisdiction. A change of venue is a change or transfer of a case from one judicial district to another.

Verdict: The decision of a trial jury or a judge that determines the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant, or that determines the final outcome of a civil case.

Vicarious liability: When one person is liable for the negligent actions of another person, even though the first person was not directly responsible for the injury. For instance, a parent sometimes can be vicariously liable for the harmful acts of a child and an employer sometimes can be vicariously liable for the actions of a worker.

Voluntary Dismissal: The court or district attorney dismisses the charges. See Nolle Pros or Nolle Prosequi.


Wage execution: Also known as garnishment.  A court order to withhold money from the defendant to be applied to a debt owed to the plaintiff or victim.

Waived – Conviction:  Mainly found in the state of North Carolina. This means the defendant has waived his/her right to trial and has pled guilty to the charges. In turn, the court accepts the plea of guilty.

Waiver by Magistrate: Charges are waived after the defendant agrees to pay a fine. The defendant is not prosecuted on this charge.

Waiver of Jury: The right to a jury trial is waived and the judge makes the decision of guilt or innocence.

Warrant: Most commonly, a court order authorizing law enforcement officers to make an arrest or conduct a search. An affidavit seeking a warrant must establish probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.

With Specifications: When W/S is listed after a charge, it is usually followed with a description of violence involved with the charge.

Withheld: Adjudication withheld, deferred adjudication, deferred judgment.

Withhold adjudication: The judge withholds a judgment of guilt.

Writ: A judicial order directing a person to do something.

Writ of Execution: A routine court order by which the court attempts to enforce the judgment that has been granted a plaintiff by authorizing a sheriff to levy on the property belonging to the judgment debtor, which is located within the county.


X: Drug slang term for “Ecstacy,” methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). Also X-ing, X-pills, XTC.


Youth: A person under the age of 18, also referred to as a juvenile or minor.

Youthful Offender: Classification of juveniles and young adults in the 18 to 25 year age group, these individuals are sometimes given special sentencing consideration for the purpose of rehabilitation, sometimes through education and counseling. Some states restrict the use of these youthful offender “convictions” by employers.

Youthful Training Act: Usually a non-conviction. Used for juvenile first-time offenders. It may be reported on a criminal record. If the juvenile complies with the sentence, the case will be dropped from the record when the offender reaches adulthood.


Zealous witness: A witness who demonstrates disproportionate enthusiasm while testifying.

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