Glossary of Public Records Terms

Select a letter to view glossary terms for that letter.

A (7) | B (2) | C (6) | D (5) | E (1) | F (1) | G (1) | I (2) | L (1) | M (1) | N (6) | P (2) | Q (1) | R (1) | S (5) | V (1)
Termsort descending Definition

The legal and formal certification of the innocence of a person who has been charged with a crime; a finding of not guilty.


This is equivalent to a judicial decision or sentence. This implies a hearing by a court of legal evidence on the factual issues involved in the case.

Adjudication Withheld

Many jurisdictions have a procedure in criminal cases allowing an accused person to essentially admit to the charges and be placed on probation without a formal finding of guilt. If the individual completes the probationary period without being charged with any subsequent criminal offenses, the original charges are dismissed. This procedure is not a conviction of the crime charged.

ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition)

This program is offered to a defendant in place of adjudication. If the defendant completes the program, the case is closed. This is not a conviction.


Procedure whereby the accused is brought before the court to plead to the criminal charges against him or her in the indictment of information.

Arrest Warrant

Written permission given by a judge (or magistrate, etc.) to a police officer to arrest a person.


An attempt to commit violent injury upon another person. Physical contact is not necessary. Assault is an act done toward the commission of a battery, and immediately precedes battery.


An actual infliction of a blow without the consent of the person who receives it. While an "Assault" is an attempt to hurt another person by violence, "Battery" occurs when the violence is accomplished.

Bench Warrant

A paper issued directly by a judge to the police or other peace officers ordering an arrest. This is usually issued in cases of contempt or where an indictment has been found. It may also occur when a witness does not obey a subpoena.


This term is Latin for “that you take.” It is a writ from a judge to the sheriff or to the police, commanding them to take a defendant into custody.


Sentence taking place or existing at the same time as another.

Conditional Discharge

The defendant has no finding of guilt. The court is discharging him or her from trial on special conditions that they must abide by. If they do not abide by these conditions, the discharge may be revoked and the finding may become guilty.

Consent Decree

This is a conviction disposition commonly found in NM. It is designed as a disposition for juvenile cases in which the defendant pleads guilty and is placed on the decree/probation for six months.


The result of a criminal trial which ends in a judgment or sentence that the accused is guilty as charged.

Criminal Plea

The defendant's response to a criminal charge (guilty, not guilty or nolo contendere).

Dead Docket

This is a common disposition in GA and means that there is not enough evidence that shows the defendant is guilty or that he is innocent. The case is set aside. If not brought back up, the case is closed. This is not a conviction.

Deferred Judgment

The defendant has no finding of guilt. The judgment is set-aside for a specified amount of time and the defendant must comply with any conditions given to him or her. The case can be dismissed if the defendant completes all requirements.


An order of judgment finally disposing of an action, suit, motion, etc., without trial of the issues involved.