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What Legal Lingo do I Need to Become Familiar With?

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Part of the challenge of defending yourself from a false allegation is understanding the legal terminology that is being used. These are many of the words you are likely to hear:

  • Continuance — The postponement of a hearing.
  • Counter-petition – The request by the respondent to get an order against the petitioner.
  • Defendant – The person against whom the complaint is made (under criminal law).
  • Ex parte – A decision that is made by a judge with only one party present. “Ex parte” is Latin term that means “from one party.” Most temporary orders are issued on an ex parte basis.
  • Expunge – To clear your criminal record of the accusation.
  • Finding – Legal conclusion made by the judge whether you committed domestic violence.
  • Injunction — A court order that orders a person to do or avoid doing a certain act.
  • Petition – The request for a restraining order.
  • Petitioner – The person who requests the restraining order.
  • Plaintiff – The person who makes the accusation (under criminal law).
  • Pro se – When a person represents himself or herself without a lawyer in a court proceeding.
  • Proceeding – The sequence of steps by which a legal judgment is reached.
  • Respondent – The person who is named in the order as the alleged abuser.
  • Serve – The act of delivering or presenting the restraining order to the respondent.
  • Vacate the order – To discontinue or stop the order.

When you are working to refute a false allegation, you are forced to operate in a different world with new procedures and vocabulary. If you hear words that you don’t understand, be sure to ask your attorney or search for them on the Internet.

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