Independent Professional Advisor Helps Consumer:  Comparison of Court Terms

Court language can get tricky because of similar words used in phrases, or some concepts are used in Civil Court, and others for Criminal Court, but the meanings are VASTLY different.  Take a look:


Beyond a Reasonable Doubt - requires that the prosecution in criminal cases present evidence that is so conclusive that every element of the crime has been proven and that reasonable doubts are removed from the mind of the ordinary person.  This standard does not require the elimination of all doubt.

Preponderance of the Evidence - is the burden in civil cases, where greater weight of evidence supports the claims of one side over the other.


Dismissal Without Prejudice - means that the moving party can refile the same claim in the future, while Dismissal With Prejudice means that the moving party cannot refile the same claim.


Evidence - is any proof presented at trial including the testimony of witnesses, records documents, objects, etc.  Exhibits are objects, documents, records, etc. presented at trial and made a part of the case.


Jury Trial is when the jury is the body responsible for deciding the outcome of the case based on the facts presented.  The judge in a jury trial rules on matters of law.  In a Court or Bench Trial, the judge decides the outcome.


Juvenile Delinquency case involves a person under 18 alleged to have committed a crime.  There are no jury trials in delinquency cases.  Juvenile Dependency case involves a person under 18 who has been abandoned, abused, or neglected.  These cases and hearings are confidential, with the exception of some delinquency matters involving the most serious criminal charges.


Courtesy of Los Angeles Superior Court

Independent Professional Advisor