Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
Annuity: A periodic (usually annual) payment of a fixed sum of money for either the life of the recipient or for a fixed number of years. A series of payments under a contract from an insurance company, a trust company, or an individual. Annuity payments are made at regular intervals over a period of more than one full year.
Answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
Appellate: About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
Bail: Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his/her appearance on the day and time appointed.
Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
Charity: An agency, institution, or organization in existence and operating for the benefit of an indefinite number of persons and conducted for educational, religious, scientific, medical, or other beneficent purposes.
Chief judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court but also decides cases; chief judges are determined by seniority.
Clerk of court: An officer appointed by the court to work with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration, especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court and to maintain court records.
Commercial driver license: means a Class A, Class B, or Class C driver license issued in accordance with the requirements of this chapter. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Commercial motor vehicle: means any motor vehicle or motor vehicle combination used on the streets or highways, which:
(a) Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more;
(b) Is designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver; or
(c) Is transporting hazardous materials and is required to be placarded in accordance with 49 C. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Commercial sexual exploitation: means the use of any person under the age of 18 years for sexual purposes in exchange for money, goods, or services or the promise of money, goods, or services. See Florida Statutes 409.016
Committee membership: Legislators are assigned to specific committees by their party. Seniority, regional balance, and political philosophy are the most prominent factors in the committee assignment process.
Common law: The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
Convenience service: means any means whereby an individual conducts a transaction with the department other than in person. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Conviction: means a conviction of an offense relating to the operation of motor vehicles on highways which is a violation of this chapter or any other such law of this state or any other state, including an admission or determination of a noncriminal traffic infraction pursuant to…. See Florida Statutes 322.01
corporate sponsorship: means a payment, donation, gratuity, in-kind service, or other benefit provided to or derived by a person in relation to the underlying activity, other than the display of product or corporate names, logos, or other graphic information on the property being transported. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
Counterclaim: A claim that a defendant makes against a plaintiff.
Court: means any tribunal in this state or any other state, or any federal tribunal, which has jurisdiction over any civil, criminal, traffic, or administrative action. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Court reporter: A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court and produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request.
Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
Decedent: A deceased person.
Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
Defense attorney: Represent defendants in criminal matters.
Department: means the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles acting directly or through its duly authorized representatives. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
Disqualification: means a prohibition, other than an out-of-service order, that precludes a person from driving a commercial motor vehicle. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Docket: A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
Donor: The person who makes a gift.
Drive: means to operate or be in actual physical control of a motor vehicle in any place open to the general public for purposes of vehicular traffic. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Driver license: means a certificate that, subject to all other requirements of law, authorizes an individual to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator's license as defined in 49 U. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Endorsement: means a special authorization which permits a driver to drive certain types of vehicles or to transport certain types of property or a certain number of passengers. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
Ex officio: Literally, by virtue of one's office.
Fair Credit Reporting Act: A federal law, established in 1971 and revised in 1997, that gives consumers the right to see their credit records and correct any mistakes. Source: OCC
Farm tractor: means a motor vehicle that is:
(a) Operated principally on a farm, grove, or orchard in agricultural or horticultural pursuits and that is operated on the roads of this state only incidentally for transportation between the owner's or operator's headquarters and the farm, grove, or orchard or between one farm, grove, or orchard and another; or
(b) Designed and used primarily as a farm implement for drawing plows, mowing machines, and other implements of husbandry. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
Felony: means any offense under state or federal law that is punishable by death or by a term of imprisonment exceeding 1 year. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
Garnishment: Generally, garnishment is a court proceeding in which a creditor asks a court to order a third party who owes money to the debtor or otherwise holds assets belonging to the debtor to turn over to the creditor any of the debtor
Gross vehicle weight rating: means the value specified by the manufacturer as the maximum loaded weight of a single, combination, or articulated vehicle. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
Hazardous materials: means any material that has been designated as hazardous under 49 U. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Identification card: means a personal identification card issued by the department which conforms to the definition in 18 U. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Indemnification: In general, a collateral contract or assurance under which one person agrees to secure another person against either anticipated financial losses or potential adverse legal consequences. Source: FDIC
Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
Lawsuit: A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty, resulting in harm to the plaintiff.
Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
Mortgagor: The person who pledges property to a creditor as collateral for a loan and who receives the money.
Motor vehicle: means any self-propelled vehicle, including a motor vehicle combination, not operated upon rails or guideway, excluding vehicles moved solely by human power, motorized wheelchairs, and electric bicycles as defined in…. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Motor vehicle combination: means a motor vehicle operated in conjunction with one or more other vehicles. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Motorcycle: means a motor vehicle powered by a motor with a displacement of more than 50 cubic centimeters, having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding a tractor, tri-vehicle, or moped. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Narcotic drugs: means coca leaves, opium, isonipecaine, cannabis, and every substance neither chemically nor physically distinguishable from them, and any and all derivatives of same, and any other drug to which the narcotics laws of the United States apply, and includes all drugs and derivatives thereof known as barbiturates. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Nolo contendere: No contest-has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability: means an entity designated by joint rule of the Legislature or by agreement between the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Out-of-service order: means a prohibition issued by an authorized local, state, or Federal Government official which precludes a person from driving a commercial motor vehicle. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
Passenger vehicle: means a motor vehicle designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver, or a school bus designed to transport more than 15 persons, including the driver. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Permit: means a document authorizing the temporary operation of a motor vehicle within this state subject to conditions established in this chapter. See Florida Statutes 322.01
person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Personal property: All property that is not real property.
Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
Pleadings: Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
political subdivision: include counties, cities, towns, villages, special tax school districts, special road and bridge districts, bridge districts, and all other districts in this state. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
Preliminary hearing: A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.
Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
Probate: Proving a will
Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
Probation officers: Screen applicants for pretrial release and monitor convicted offenders released under court supervision.
Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
Public defender: Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in criminal matters.
Quorum: The number of legislators that must be present to do business.
Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
Reporter: Makes a record of court proceedings and prepares a transcript, and also publishes the court's opinions or decisions (in the courts of appeals).
Resident: means a person who has his or her principal place of domicile in this state for a period of more than 6 consecutive months, has registered to vote, has made a statement of domicile pursuant to…. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
Restriction: means a prohibition against operating certain types of motor vehicles or a requirement that a driver comply with certain conditions when driving a motor vehicle. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Service of process: The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
State: means a state or possession of the United States, and, for the purposes of this chapter, includes the District of Columbia. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
Suspension: means the temporary withdrawal of a licensee's privilege to drive a motor vehicle. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Suspension or revocation equivalent status: is a designation for a person who does not have a driver license or driving privilege but would qualify for suspension or revocation of his or her driver license or driving privilege if licensed. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Tank vehicle: means a vehicle that is designed to transport any liquid or gaseous material within a tank either permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle, if such tank has a designed capacity of 1,000 gallons or more. See Florida Statutes 322.01
temporary identification card: means a certificate issued by the department which, subject to all other requirements of law, authorizes an individual to drive a motor vehicle and denotes an operator's license, as defined in 49 U. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Testify: Answer questions in court.
Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
Tort: A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.
Tri-vehicle: means an enclosed three-wheeled passenger vehicle that:
(a) Is designed to operate with three wheels in contact with the ground;
(b) Has a minimum unladen weight of 900 pounds;
(c) Has a single, completely enclosed, occupant compartment;
(d) Is produced in a minimum quantity of 300 in any calendar year;
(e) Is capable of a speed greater than 60 miles per hour on level ground; and
Vehicle: means every device in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway or operated upon rails or guideway, except a bicycle, motorized wheelchair, or electric bicycle. See Florida Statutes 322.01
Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
Verdict: The decision of a petit jury or a judge.
veteran: means a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under honorable conditions only or who later received an upgraded discharge under honorable conditions, notwithstanding any action by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs on individuals discharged or released with other than honorable discharges. See Florida Statutes 1.01
Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
Writ of certiorari: An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.
writing: includes handwriting, printing, typewriting, and all other methods and means of forming letters and characters upon paper, stone, wood, or other materials. See Florida Statutes 1.01