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 ascending Definition

Lesser offenses - generally city violations, code enforcement, etc.


Formal accusation issued by a grand jury. This does not constitute a conviction or proof of guilt with respect to any charge.

Grand Jury

A body of citizens, the number of whom varies from state to state, whose duties consist in determining whether probable cause exists that a crime has been committed and whether an indictment should be returned against one for such a crime.


A grave crime declared to be a felony by the common law or by statute regardless of the punishment actually imposed. These types of charges are of a more serious nature than those designated as misdemeanors.


Blot out, obliterate, completely remove, or strike out from the record.

Dismissal Without Predjudice

Dismissal without predjudice to the right of the complaintant to sue again on the same cause of action.

Dismissal With Predjudice

Term meaning an adjudication on the merits, and final disposition, barring the right to bring or maintain an action on the same claim or cause.


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

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.

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.

Criminal Plea

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


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

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.

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.


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


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.

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.


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.