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Terms You Should Know

Knowledge of legal terms is key to understanding what's happening in your case.

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Here are some common terms that you should make sure you know if you come into contact with the criminal justice system. Knowing these basics will help you understand what is happening to you or a loved one who gets arrested.



A serious crime, including arson, rape, perjury and homicide, punishable by more than one year in prison

Due Diligence

The action a responsible person would take; such as stopping your car at a red traffic light or washing your hands before cooking in a restaurant


This lawyer is employed by the District Attorney and represents the victim


The person charged with a crime


A crime punishable by a year in prison or less


A statement given under oath


Queens Defenders represents youth, age 18 and younger, who have been charged with crimes. There are three types of cases:
Juvenile Offender
  • 13-15 years-old at the time of the crimes: murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery in the first degree
Youthful Offender
  • Any youth arrested for a felony or misdemeanor prior to 19th birthday
  • After indictment, case is heard in the youth part of Supreme Court
Adolescent Offender
  • 16 or 17 years old at the time of the crime
  • Crime is a felony
  • Case can be removed to family court if the judge determines that it does not meet the criteria for supreme court

Click here for more information on all Queens courts.