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Common Criminal Justice Terms

Common Criminal Justice Terms

Common Criminal Justice Terms


The criminal justice system can be intimidating and complex to navigate, whether you find yourself on the wrong side of the law or simply trying to understand the terminology used in media coverage. To help demystify some of these terms, we’ve put together a guide to the most common criminal justice terms you may come across. By understanding these concepts, you’ll be able to better navigate the system, whether you’re facing criminal charges or simply following the news.



Bail is a payment made by a defendant to be released from custody while awaiting trial. The amount of bail required is determined by a judge and is often based on the severity of the charges and the risk that the defendant will flee. Bail payments can be made directly to the court or through a bail bondsman, who pays the bail on the defendant’s behalf for a fee. It is important to note that not all people who are accused of crimes are eligible for bail.

Plea Bargain

A plea bargain is a negotiation between a prosecutor and a defendant in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to a lesser charge or to a reduced sentence in exchange for the dismissal of other charges or a lighter sentence. Plea bargains are typically offered when the evidence against a defendant is strong or there are other factors that make a conviction likely. In many cases, accepting a plea bargain is the best option for the defendant, as it can result in a more lenient sentence than would otherwise be possible if the case went to trial.


Probation is a court-ordered period of supervision and monitoring for a defendant who has been convicted of a crime or who has been released from prison. While on probation, the defendant must comply with certain conditions, such as reporting regularly to a probation officer, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and avoiding criminal activity. Violating probation can result in additional charges and penalties.

Miranda Rights

Miranda rights are a set of legal rights that must be read to a person who is taken into custody by police. These rights include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and the warning that anything they say can be used against them in court. The purpose of Miranda rights is to ensure that individuals who are arrested are aware of their legal rights and are not coerced into making incriminating statements.


Sentencing is the stage in a criminal case where a judge determines the punishment for a defendant who has been found guilty or who has pleaded guilty. Sentencing can involve prison time, fines, probation, community service, or other penalties. The severity of the sentence is typically based on the nature of the crime, the defendant’s criminal history, and other factors such as the defendant’s age, mental health, and level of remorse.



Navigating the criminal justice system can be overwhelming, but gaining an understanding of common terms like bail, plea bargain, probation, Miranda rights, and sentencing can help demystify the process. Whether you are facing criminal charges or simply following a legal case in the news, understanding these terms is a valuable tool. If you or a loved one find yourself in need of a bail bondsman in Orlando, contact Mike Snapp Bail Bonds for assistance. Our experienced team can help guide you through the bail process and answer any questions you may have.