AskDefine | Define convictions

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Noun

convictions
  1. Plural of conviction.

Extensive Definition

In law, a conviction is the verdict that results when a court of law finds a defendant guilty of a crime.
The opposite of a conviction is an acquittal (i.e. "not guilty"). (In Scotland and in the Netherlands there is also a third verdict of "not proven", which counts as an acquittal.)
For a host of reasons, the criminal justice system is not perfect and sometimes guilty defendants are acquitted while innocent people are convicted. Appeal mechanisms mitigate this problem to some extent. An error that results in the conviction of an innocent person is a miscarriage of justice.
After a defendant is convicted, the court determines the appropriate sentence as a punishment. Further, the conviction may lead to results beyond the terms of the sentence itself. Such ramifications are known as the collateral consequences of criminal charges. However the defendant must be 18 years old in all states except in Alaska (where in Alaska the age is 21) to be convicted. If the defendant is under the age of 18 (or 21 in Alaska) the conviction is concidered a minor conviction.
A minor conviction is concidered, in a term, a warning conviction, and it does not effect the defendant, but serves as a warning.
An accused's history of convictions are called antecedents, known colloquially as "previous" in the UK and "priors" in the United States and Australia.
convictions in Lithuanian: Kalinimas
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