Glossary Results - B
This is a Legal Dictionary for visitor reference. Please click on the letter below to search by alphabet or use the search form to find the term you are looking for.
bail - The money put up to secure the release of a person who has been charged and jailed for a crime. The idea behind bail is that it guarantees the appearance of the defendant in court for further legal proceedings. There is a constitutional right to a fair bail amount. This will vary depending on the severity of the crime.
bail - The money required by the court to be paid to it to make sure a person will return to court for hearings and trial.
bail bond - The money posted by a bondsman on behalf of a defendant who cannot afford to post his own bail. In most situations, the defendant pays the bail bondsman only a small portion of the bail.
bailiff - A court officer who often swears in witnesses, escorts juries and maintains the civility in the courtroom.
balloon payment - A large payment due at the end of a loan.
bankruptcy - A legal proceeding in federal court used by persons or businesses to seek relief from creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcies allow individuals and businesses to seek a total liquidation of their property in return for the majority of their debts being wiped out. Chapter 13 bankruptcies can only be filed by individuals. This type of bankruptcy allows the individuals to keep their personal belongings in return for making payments to creditors over a series of years, often repaying only a portion of the debt owed. Chapter 11 bankruptcies are for businesses and individuals with a high amount of debts and is similar to Chapter 13 bankruptcies in that payments are made to creditors overtime. Family farmers usually seek protection under Chapter 12 bankruptcies which are specific to farmers.
Bankruptcy Judge - The judge who determines whether a debtor is entitled to a discharge in bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Law - The area of federal law dealing with the handling of bankrupt persons or businesses.
bankruptcy trustee - A person appointed by the court to supervise a bankruptcy case.
Bar - Historically, the partition separating the general public from the space occupied by the judges, lawyers, and other participants in a trail. Also more commonly, the term means the who body of lawyers.
bar examination - A test given by each state for law school graduates who want to practice in the state.
basis - For income and capital gains tax purposes, the value that is used to determine profit or loss when property is sold. Often the basis is what you paid for the property.
battery - Unjustified intentional physical contact that is intended to harm.
bench - The area in the court room where the judge sits.
bench trial - A trial where the judge hears all evidence and makes a decision without the aid of a jury.
Bench Warrant - An order issued by a judge for the arrest of a person.
beneficiary - A person or organization listed in a document such as a will or trust who is to receive something of value such as money or property stated in the will or trust.
Bequeath - To give a gift to someone through a will.
Bequests - Gifts made in a will.
Best Evidence - Primary evidence; the best evidence available. Evidence short of this is "secondary." That is, an original letter is " best evidence," and a photocopy is "secondary evidence."
best interests of the child - A test used by a judge to determine who should care for a child.
beyond a reasonable doubt - The burden of proof that the prosecution must convince a judge or jury to obtain a guilty verdict in a criminal trial.
bifurcate - To separate issues in a case, such as liability and damages, so that one issue or set of issues can be tried and resolved before the others.
Bill of Particulars - A statement of the details of the charge made against the defendant.
Bind Over - To hold a person for trail on bond (bail) or in jail. If the judicial official conducting a hearing finds probable cause to believe the accused committed a crime, the official will bind over the accused, normally by setting bail for the accused's appearance at trial. (This is a state court procedure.)
blue law - A state or local statute or ordinance that prohibits certain activities on Sundays.
Bond - A written agreement by which a person insures he will pay a certain sum of money if he does not perform certain duties properly.
booking - The act of recording someone's arrest, including the name, age and reason arrested. Usually photographs and finger prints are taken and an arrest number is assigned to the person.
Bound Supplement - A supplement to a book or books to update the service bound in permanent form.
breach - An act or failure to act based on a legal obligation.