Dictionary of Law
D.A. :: n. slang for District Attorney. ... n. slang for District Attorney.
d.b.a. :: n. short for "doing business as," when a person or ... that is registered with the state.
D.U.I. :: n. short for driving under the influence of alcoho ... ing under the influence of alcohol.
D.W.I. :: n. 1) short for driving while intoxicated. 2) abbr ... for dying without issue (children).
damages :: n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the pers ... liquidated damages special damages
dangerous :: adj. unsafe, hazardous, fraught with risk. It can ... eapon's range. See also: negligence
dangerous weapon :: n. any gun, knife, sword, crossbow, slingshot or o ... igence and possibly win a judgment.
date rape :: n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquainta ... physical resistance. See also: rape
day in court :: n. popular term for everyone's opportunity to brin ... rt to protest his speeding ticket."
de facto :: adj. Latin for "in fact." Often used in place of " ... ave not been met. See also: de jure
de facto corporation :: n. a company which operates as if it were a corpor ... also: de facto de jure ultra vires
de jure :: adj. Latin for "lawful," as distinguished from de ... also: de facto de jure corporation
de jure corporation :: n. a corporation in good standing under the law, a ... also: de facto corporation de jure
de minimis :: adj. (dee-minnie-miss) Latin for "of minimum impor ... deal, a $10 mistake is de minimis.
de novo :: adj. Latin for "anew," which means starting over, ... n, de novo. See also: trial de novo
deadly weapon :: n. any weapon which can kill. This includes not on ... See also: assault dangerous weapon
dealer :: n. anyone who buys goods or property for the purpo ... ins taxes by buying other property.
death penalty :: n. the sentence of execution for murder and some o ... rder and some other capital crimes.
death row :: n. nickname for that portion of a prison in which ... o: capital punishment death penalty
debenture :: n. a form of bond certificate issued by a corporat ... n shares of stock or general bonds.
debt :: n. 1) a sum of money due to another. 2) obligation ... mount owed. See also: common counts
debtor :: n. 1) a person or entity that owes an amount of mo ... the "debtor." See also: bankruptcy
debtor in possession :: n. in bankruptcy proceedings when a debtor has fil ... n possession." See also: bankruptcy
deceased :: 1) adj. dead. 2) n. the person who has died, as us ... ore genteel word is the "decedent."
decedent :: n. the person who has died, sometimes referred to ... the "deceased." See also: deceased
deceit :: n. dishonesty, fraudulent conduct, false statement ... . See also: fraud misrepresentation
deception :: n. the act of misleading another through intention ... ent actions. See also: deceit fraud
decide :: v. for a judge, arbitrator, court of appeals or ot ... rding to the law as he/she sees it.
decision :: n. judgment, decree or determination of findings o ... (court). See also: decree judgment
declarant :: n. the person making a statement, usually written ... also: affiant affidavit declaration
declaration :: n. 1) any statement made, particularly in writing. ... blic. See also: affidavit declarant
declaration of mailing :: n. a form stating that a particular document has b ... other party. See also: declaration
declaration of trust :: n. the document signed by a trustor (settlor) crea ... also: settlor trust trustee trustor
declaratory judgment :: n. a judgment of a court which determines the righ ... ys it. See also: declaratory relief
declaratory relief :: n. a judge's determination (called a "declaratory ... ter. See also: declaratory judgment
decree :: n. in general, synonymous with judgment. However, ... n's estate, etc. See also: judgment
decriminalization :: n. the repeal or amendment of statutes which made ... gh clinics and other legal sources.
dedication :: n. the giving of land by a private person or entit ... perty. See also: quiet title action
deduction :: n. an expenditure which an income tax payer may su ... dded together, reduce the tax owed.
deed :: 1) n. the written document which transfers title ( ... veyance deed of trust warranty deed
deed of trust :: n. a document which pledges real property to secur ... : foreclosure mortgage reconveyance
defalcation :: v. from Latin for "deduction," withholding or misa ... ailing to make a proper accounting.
defamation :: n. the act of making untrue statements about anoth ... comment libel public figure slander
default :: 1) n. failure to respond to a summons and complain ... default judgment notice of default
default judgment :: n. if a defendant in a lawsuit fails to respond to ... See also: complaint default summons
defeasance :: n. an antiquated word for a document which termina ... d or contract if some event occurs.
defect :: n. an imperfection, quite often so great that the ... See also: defective defective title
defective :: adj. not being capable of fulfilling its function, ... t. See also: defect defective title
defective title :: n. an apparent title to real property which fails ... so: chain of title defect defective
defendant :: n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the par ... nt. See also: codefendant plaintiff
defense :: n. 1) a general term for the effort of an attorney ... tiff. See also: affirmative defense
defense attorney :: n. 1) the attorney representing the defendant in a ... lso: defendant plaintiff's attorney
deficiency judgment :: n. a judgment for an amount not covered by the val ... o: foreclosure judicial foreclosure
deficit :: n. a shortage, less than is due, or in the case of ... l of government except the federal.
defraud :: v. to use deceit, falsehoods or trickery to obtain ... longing to another. See also: fraud
degree of kinship :: n. the level of relationship between two persons r ... there is no will. See also: descent
delayed exchange :: n. an exchange of property to put off capital gain ... method and survived an IRS lawsuit.
delegate :: 1) v. to assign authority to another. 2) n. a pers ... tuency, interest group or business.
deleterious :: adj. harmful. ... adj. harmful.
deliberate :: 1) adj. (dee-lib-er-et) done with care and intenti ... any group including a legislature.
deliberation :: n. the act of considering, discussing and, hopeful ... ssions, voting and decision-making.
delinquent :: 1) adj. not paid in full amount or on time. 2) n. ... the law as in juvenile delinquent.
deliver :: v. to actually hand an object, money or document t ... ject, money or document to another.
delivery :: n. the actual handing to another of an object, mon ... rties. See also: contract deed sale
demand :: 1) v. to claim as a need, requirement or entitleme ... pay is made. See also: demand note
demand note :: n. a promissory note which is payable any time the ... allments. See also: promissory note
demise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease ... r life. 3) n. death. 4) n. failure.
demonstrative evidence :: n. actual objects, pictures, models and other devi ... the trial judge. See also: evidence
demurrer :: n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint ... demurrer. See also: motion pleading
denial :: n. a statement in the defendant's answer to a comp ... ative defense answer general denial
dependent :: 1) n. a person receiving support from another pers ... dent on the expert being available.
depletion :: n. when a natural resource (particularly oil) is b ... nger be able to make money from it.
deponent :: n. a person testifying (stating answers in respons ... sition. See also: depose deposition
deportation :: n. the act of expelling a foreigner from a country ... s usually to the country of origin.
depose :: v. 1) to ask questions of a witness or a party to ... tion. See also: deponent deposition
deposition :: n. the taking and recording of testimony of a witn ... See also: deponent depose discovery
depreciate :: v. in accounting, to reduce the value of an asset ... ittle value. See also: depreciation
depreciation :: n. the actual or theoretical gradual loss of value ... e early years of use (accelerated).
depreciation reserve :: n. a business fund in which the probable replaceme ... s obsolete and totally depreciated.
derelict :: n. something or someone who is abandoned, such as ... iety. See also: abandon dereliction
dereliction :: n. 1) abandoning possession, which is sometimes us ... is building up). See also: derelict
derivative action :: n. a lawsuit brought by a corporation shareholder ... on director shareholder stockholder
descent :: n. the rules of inheritance established by law in ... on inheritance intestate succession
descent and distribution :: n. the system of laws which determine who will inh ... nt inheritance intestate succession
desert :: v. to intentionally abandon a person or thing. ... tionally abandon a person or thing.
desertion :: n. the act of abandoning, particularly leaving one ... tody and other post-marital issues.
determinable :: adj. defining something which may be terminated up ... es or no longer lives in the house.
deuce :: n. slang term for a drunk driving conviction. The ... 502 of the California Vehicle Code.
devise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned word for giving real proper ... so: bequest gift legacy remise will
devisee :: n. a person who receives a gift of real property b ... will. See also: beneficiary legatee
devolution :: n. 1) the transfer of title to real property by th ... nment to another. See also: devolve
devolve :: v. when property is automatically transferred from ... ory sovereign rights to run itself.
dicta :: n. the plural of dictum. ... n. the plural of dictum.
dictum :: n. Latin for "remark," a comment by a judge in a d ... cta)." See also: dicta obiter dicta
diligence :: n. reasonable care or attention to a matter, which ... erver's attempt to locate someone).
diminished capacity :: n. essentially a psychological term which has foun ... See also: insanity M'Naughten rule
diminution in value :: n. in the event of a breach of contract, the decre ... actly as specified in the contract.
direct and proximate cause :: n. the immediate reason damage was caused by an ac ... so: cause complaint proximate cause
direct evidence :: n. real, tangible or clear evidence of a fact, hap ... o: circumstantial evidence evidence
direct examination :: n. the first questioning of a witness during a tri ... nation deposition testimony witness
directed verdict :: n. a verdict by a jury based on the specific direc ... element judgment jury trial verdict
director :: n. a member of the governing board of a corporatio ... lso: board of directors corporation
disability :: n. 1) a condition which prevents one from performi ... ct, or being insane or incompetent.
disbar :: v. to remove an attorney from the list of practici ... legal ethics. (See moral turpitude
disbarment :: n. the ultimate discipline of an attorney, which i ... ation and/or cure. See also: disbar
discharge :: v. 1) to perform one's duties. 2) to dismiss someo ... d not be paid. See also: bankruptcy
discharge in bankruptcy :: n. an order given by the bankruptcy judge, at the ... red creditors. See also: bankruptcy
disclaimer :: n. 1) denial or renunciation by someone of his/her ... ssolving a partnership or business.
discount :: n. the payment of less than the full amount due on ... now-the difference is the discount.
discovery :: n. the entire efforts of a party to a lawsuit and ... ee also: deposition interrogatories
discretion :: n. the power of a judge, public official or a priv ... t a variance to a zoning ordinance.
discrimination :: n. unequal treatment of persons, for a reason whic ... qual rights. See also: civil rights
disfigure :: v. to cause permanent change in a person's body, p ... . See also: damages general damages
dishonor :: v. to refuse to pay the face amount of a check or ... he amount due on a promissory note.
disinherit :: v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that ... rorem clause pretermitted heir will
disinheritance :: n. the act of disinheriting. See also: disinherit ... disinheriting. See also: disinherit
disjunctive allegations :: n. the attempt to claim in a civil lawsuit that on ... o: cause of action charge complaint
dismiss :: v. the ruling by a judge that all or a portion (on ... nst that party. See also: dismissal
dismissal :: n. 1) the act of voluntarily terminating a crimina ... f the settlement. See also: dismiss
dismissal with prejudice :: n. See also: dismissal ... n. See also: dismissal
dismissal without prejudice :: n. See also: dismissal ... n. See also: dismissal
disorderly conduct :: n. 1) actions that disturb others. 2) minor crimin ... peace, and loud threats or parties.
disorderly house :: n. 1) polite term for house of prostitution. 2) pl ... tion. 2) place of illegal gambling.
disposing mind and memory :: n. the mental ability to understand in general wha ... ng a will. See also: competent will
disposition :: n. the court's final determination of a lawsuit or ... on of a lawsuit or criminal charge.
dispossess :: v. to eject someone from real property, either leg ... ty, either legally or by self-help.
dissent :: n. 1) the opinion of a judge of a court of appeals ... sagreement with prevailing thought.
dissenting opinion :: n. See also: dissent ... n. See also: dissent
dissolution :: n. modern, gentler sounding, term for divorce, off ... lving a marriage. See also: divorce
dissolution of corporation :: n. termination of a corporation, either a) volunta ... e government. See also: corporation
distinguish :: v. to argue that the rule in one appeals court dec ... arity (i.e. it is "distinguished").
distress :: 1) n. the self-help taking of another's possession ... rice due to negative circumstances.
distribute :: v. 1) the dividing up of those assets of an estate ... and distribution probate trust will
distribution :: n. the act of dividing up the assets of an estate ... p percentages. See also: distribute
District Attorney (D.A.) :: n. an elected official of a county or a designated ... dent and serve at his/her pleasure.
district court :: n. 1) in the federal court system, a trial court f ... urt in some states. See also: court
disturbing the peace :: n. upsetting the quiet and good order particularly ... able by fine or brief term in jail.
diversion :: n. in criminal procedure, a system for giving a ch ... second offense. See also: probation
diversity of citizenship :: n. when opposing parties in a lawsuit are citizens ... unt in controversy exceeds $10,000.
divestiture :: n. the court-ordered or voluntary giving up of a p ... nopoly or other restraint of trade.
divestment :: n. the act of stripping one's investment from an e ... ng one's investment from an entity.
dividend :: n. a portion of profit, usually based on the numbe ... . See also: corporation shareholder
divorce :: 1) n. the termination of a marriage by legal actio ... y separate property spousal support
DNA :: n. scientifically, deoxyribonucleic acid, a chromo ... is strongly in favor of admission.
docket :: 1) n. the cases on a court calendar. 2) n. brief n ... r or make notes on action in court.
document :: n. a popular generic word among lawyers for any pa ... it. See also: documentary evidence
documentary evidence :: n. any document (paper) which is presented and all ... evancy. See also: document evidence
doing business :: v. carrying on the normal activities of a corporat ... oration operating within the state.
domestic partners :: n. unmarried couples, including homosexuals, livin ... , such as job-related health plans.
domestic relations :: n. a polite term for the legal field of divorce, d ... port and alimony. See also: divorce
domestic violence :: n. the continuing crime and problem of the physica ... ravated assault assault and battery
domicile :: n. the place where a person has his/her permanent ... where its headquarters is located.
dominant estate :: n. in real estate law, the property retained when ... See also: easement servient estate
dominant tenement :: n. See also: dominant estate ... n. See also: dominant estate
donation :: n. gift. If made to a qualified non-profit charita ... ribution in calculating income tax.
donative intent :: n. conscious desire to make a gift, as distinguish ... thing by mistake or under pressure.
donee :: n. a person or entity receiving an outright gift o ... iving an outright gift or donation.
donor :: n. a person or entity making a gift or donation. ... r entity making a gift or donation.
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
double taxation :: n. taxation of the same property for the same purp ... it is not discriminatory or unfair.
dower :: n. an old English common law right of a widow to o ... t and distribution widow's election
dowry :: n. from the days when a groom expected to profit f ... sts in the Civil Code of Louisiana.
draft :: 1) n. a bill of exchange or check in which one par ... s. See also: bill of exchange check
dram shop rule :: n. a statute (Dram Shop Act) or case law in 38 sta ... tervening cause, namely, the drunk.
draw :: v. 1) to prepare any document. 2) specifically to ... signed a bill of exchange or check.
drawee :: n. the party who is to be paid on a bill of exchan ... r check. See also: bill of exchange
drawer :: n. the person who signs a bill of exchange. See al ... xchange. See also: bill of exchange
driving under the influence (DUI) :: n. commonly called "drunk driving," it refers to o ... (DWI), drunk driving, or a "deuce".
driving while intoxicated :: n. ... n.
drop dead date :: n. a provision in a contract or a court order whic ... ng property or entering a judgment.
due :: n. and adj. owed as of a specific date. A popular ... ecessarily mean that a debt is due.
due and owing :: adj. See also: due ... adj. See also: due
due care :: n. the conduct that a reasonable man or woman will ... "reasonable" man or woman would do.
due process of law :: n. a fundamental principle of fairness in all lega ... procedural and substantive rights.
due, owing and unpaid :: adj. See also: due ... adj. See also: due
duress :: n. the use of force, false imprisonment or threats ... pardoned by President Jimmy Carter.
duty :: n. 1) a legal obligation, the breach of which can ... on imports. See also: duty of care
duty of care :: n. a requirement that a person act toward others a ... e also: negligence standard of care
dying declaration :: n. the statement of a mortally injured person who ... as no reason not to tell the truth.