So here’s how it usually happens: you’re sitting on your couch, it’s 10 at night, your favorite cop drama or court justice show comes on. You get really into the first 15 minutes or so, but then they start throwing out all of this lawyer jargon and legalese and you’re left scratching you’re head, wondering what you missed.
It really isn’t fair for these shows to be tossing around terms like criminal attorney and elder law and probate all of the time without offering some form of explanation. Luckily for you, there are plenty of sources online that you can find that will offer the definitions for such confusing terms.
- What Is Criminal Law?
- What Is Elder Law?
- What Is a Probate Attorney?
A criminal attorney practices criminal law. And criminal law is the portion of law that relates to crime. Pretty straight forward, right? A crime is classified as something that breaks the regulations of social conduct, and can be considered threatening, harming, or otherwise endangering to the moral welfare, safety, and health of people.
This type of law also includes the punishment of those who violate these crimes. Criminal is different from what is known as civil law, which emphasizes more the resolution of disputes and compensation of victims, as opposed to the punishment portion.
When I first heard this term, I thought that it was one of those law things that sound like one obvious thing, but really applies to something completely different. Much like tort law. Don’t get excited, tort law does not refer to delicious, layered, jam-filled cakes (that’s torte law).
An elder law attorney takes care of exactly what it sounds like. Elder law is a term that was coined to blanket the legal area that focuses on the issues affecting the growing aging population. This is actually a relatively new and growing field. More people are living longer now than they ever have before, and as such, more and more instances are coming up that have never been faced before. Therefore new elder laws are created fairly regularly at this point.
Probate law is not to be confused with probation. Probate lawyers, from probate law firms, deal with the estate of a deceased person. A probate court is the one that decides the legal validity of a person’s will, and grants its approval, by granting probate, to the executor of the will. Cases are taken to probate court when people protest a certain ruling on wills.
Now you can cheer for the criminal attorney when she comes on the screen, and know why you’re cheering! Legal terms can get really confusing, so no one blames you if you start looking up more definitions when you watch those court dramas. If you truly want to enjoy those shows, you really should do your best to know what is going on. And who knows? Maybe you will need to know some of these terms some day.