Navigating legal terms can be tricky. No matter if you are attempting to retain the service of an attorney or just enjoy a crime drama speaking the language of the law can help. Read on for some commonly used legal terminology.
If you were to be asked to testify or give witness in court you may be asked to sign an affidavit during the pre trial phase of a case. An affidavit is a written statement that is made under oath. Being under oath means that you are swearing that your statements are true. Lying while under oath is called perjury and carries heavy fines and can lead to imprisonment. These basic law terms are used many times in legal dramas and are not difficult to understand.
If you have ever been divorced or know someone who has you may be familiar with the legal terms of alimony and child support. Alimony is money that one spouse has to pay another for support after a divorce. Alimony is separate from child support which is money the court orders a parent to pay to support their child or children.
Another common legal phrase you may have heard is arbitration. This legal terms refers to parties who meet with a neutral third party to dispute or resolve an issue. Arbitration is used in place of arguing a case in front of a judge.
If you or anyone you know has ever gotten into trouble with the law, several more legal terms you may be familiar with are felony and misdemeanor. On the most general of terms, a felony is a crime for which a person can be sentenced to serve a prison sentence of more than a year. Misdemeanor is the legal terms for a class of crimes that carry a punishment of up to a year in prison or no more than a two thousand dollar fine.
I hope this small primer on law terminology is helpful to you. There are many legal terms and legal dictionaries out there, but speaking the language of the law is no substitute for a good attorney if you are in trouble.