Words You Need to Know

Glossary of Terms

Because your path to freedom involves legal processes, you will hear a lot of new words, as well as familiar words being used in new ways.

Use this list to help you understand some of the key terms that will be used during the process.

Remember to ask questions. Whenever there are terms or parts of the process you don’t understand, ask someone to explain it to you.


Money or other security pprovided by the defendant, or by others on her behalf, to assure that she will appear at the required stages of the trial process.

Bench warrant

A warrant that a judge issues for someone's arrest. A judge may issue a bench warrant in a number of circumstances, including when someone does not obey a court order or fails to come to a court hearing that s/he was ordered to come to.


To enter into police records a suspect's name and the crime for which he was arrested.


A written summary of a client's case, usually summarizing relevant laws and facts.