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What do Nolle Prosequi mean?

Updated on February 2, 2014

Nolle Prosequi

“To be unwilling to pursue”, this phrase is the English translation of the legal phrase Nolle Prosequi. This legal Latin term is also understood as “please do not prosecute”. In many common law criminal jurisdiction, this term is usually used especially in instances where the prosecutor decides to apply for the discontinuation of criminal charges before a trial has took place or even up until but definitely before a verdict has been delivered.

In a legal setting, just like in court rooms or during trials, many Latin phrases are being used. Since latin is not commonly understood by the majority, an extensive amount of understanding is needed. No wonder, lawyers need an extensive degree of education in order to practice such profession because it is usually in court rooms that these type of language is being used. Furthermore, these type of language has man underlying meanings and implications that needs to be understood and studied because proper usage of such terms must be at all times applied. “Nolle prosequi” is just one of the many Latin terms being used in many courtrooms today. I may not give you an extensive explanation of the meaning and extend of usage of this term, however I ma give you an overview of what this term means, and how and when to use this.


Understanding Legal Terms

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In a legal setting, just like in court rooms or during trials, many latin phrases are being used. Since latin is not commonly understood by the majority, an extensive amount of understanding is needed. No wonder, lawyers need an extensive degree of education in order to practice such profession because it is usually in court rooms that these type of language is being used. Furthermore, these type of language has man underlying meanings and implications that needs to be understood and studied because proper usage of such terms must be at all times applied. “Nolle prosequi” is just one of the many latin terms being used in many courtrooms today. I may not give you an extensive explanation of the meaning and extend of usage of this term, however I ma give you an overview of what this term means, and how and when to use this.

Know Legal Terms for Court

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What is the meaning of Nolle Prosequi:

“Nolle Prosequi”, this declaration is usually done in a criminal case or in civil cases. In a criminal case, the declaration is made by the prosecutor or in a civil lawsuit by the plaintiff on or before the trial. When this is being declared, this means that case filed against the defendant is being dropped due to several factors. These factors maybe, one, the charges being filed cannot be proved. Two, base on the evidences, there is a fatal flaw on the prosecution’s claim or innocence has been demonstrated. Or lastly, the prosecutor has claimed that the accused is not guilty and or the accused has passed away. On these grounds, nolle prosequi can be declared. However, this decision must be made before the indictment took place. Also, this is not an excused for the accused to be reindicted again in the future.

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Nature and Effects:

The nature and effect of nolle prosequi is only to put the defendant without a day but it does not means that there is an acquittal. The accused may be reindicted again or if an indictment has been done, a new and fresh process may be given. In civil cases, nolle prosequi does not mean release of retraxit but it is only an agreement not to proceed with the case or to remove the case from the suit. In civil cases, it is possible to enter nolle prosequi to several counts or to several defendants.

This latin phrase must be well understood so that it maybe used properly on the appropriate grounds and time. Many considerations and factors must be considered before this request is being made so extensive knowledge and understanding is truly a must to fully grasp the meaning of this phrase.

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