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.

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

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Wade Hearing

  • Based on US v Wade, 388 US 218 (1967), a pre-trial hearing to test the fairness of a line-up. The issue is whether to admit or suppress an identification of an accused that resulted from the line-up.


  • Intentionally giving up a right. Example: a defendant waiving his right to remain silent to be interviewed by police.

Walker Hearing

  • Based on People v Walker, 374 Mich 331 (1965), an evidentiary hearing on a defendant's motion to suppress his incriminating statement to the police. The hearing focuses on the totality of the circumstances surrounding the statement, including whether it was voluntarily and intelligently made, whether police advised the defendant of his Miranda rights and the defendant waived the rights, etc.


  • A court order authorizing an arrest.

Wharton's Rule

  • A substantive limitation on the scope of the crime of conspiracy. This rule provides that an agreement by two persons to commit a crime cannot be prosecuted as a conspiracy when the target crime requires the participation of the same two persons (for example dueling, bigamy or incest). The applicability of the rule focuses on the elements of the target crime, rather than on the factual circumstances of the particular case. So, if the offense could logically be accomplished by a single person, or the number of alleged conspirators exceeds the minimum number logically necessary to complete the substantive offense, Wharton's Rule does not apply.

With Prejudice

  • A dismissal "with prejudice" forever bars the same charge arising from the same incident from being brought against the same defendant again.

Without Prejudice

  • A dismissal "without prejudice" allows a prosecutor to re-file the same charge arising from the same incident against the same defendant again.


  • Person who comes to court (sometimes by subpoena) and swears under oath to give truthful evidence.

Work Release

  • A probation program where the defendant is permitted to maintain employment while residing in jail. The defendant leaves jail on work days only for his work hours, plus limited travel time.