The terms and definitions on this page are relevant to criminal cases in the State of Michigan, United States of America, unless noted otherwise. Criminal laws and procedures in other states and countries may be very different.

Do not take legal action solely in reliance on the information posted on this page!

This page provides general information that is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct, complete and up-to-date. Do not rely, for legal advice, on information given on this page or any externally referenced Internet sites. If you need legal advice upon which you intend to rely in the course of your legal affairs, consult a competent attorney in your area.

If the word you're looking for does not appear on this list, check one of the following websites: Law.com or Nolo’s Law Dictionary.


The legal system can be filled with confusing phrases and terms. This list should help you to understand that system a little better.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


  • Taking exception to a statement or procedure in trial. Used to call the court's attention to improper evidence or procedure.
  • Objection Overruled - a judge's rejection of an objection as invalid.
  • Objection Sustained - support or agree with an objection. Used by the judge to indicate agreement with a motion or request.

 180-Day Rule

  • A rule that allows people who are in county jails awaiting trial on felony charges for 180 days to be released on their own recognizance if the delay has not been caused by the accused or the accused's attorney.
  • A rule that requires all pending charges against a state prison inmate be brought to trial in 180 days, or be dismissed with prejudice.


  • A decision of a court made in writing.


  • A local law or regulation enacted by the governing body of a municipality or county. It has no effect outside that village, city, township or county.

OUIL (Operating Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquor)   [MCL 257.625]

  • Commonly called "drunk driving". A person driving a vehicle while significantly or substantially affected by alcohol.
  • Penalty: Misdemeanor (1st & 2nd offenses --- up to 90 days jail (1st offense) or 1 year (2nd offense); fines; community service; 6 points assessed on driving record; mandatory license suspension of at least 6 months (1st offense) or 1 year revocation (2nd offense).
  • Penalty: Felony (3rd conviction for OUIL or UBAL in last 10 years) --- 1-5 years prison; fines; license revocation.


  • A judge's decision to not allow an objection to prevail. Also, a decision by a higher court that a lower court's decision was in error.
  • See also sustain.