Innocent Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Innocent, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Innocent?

Not guilt or lack of guilty. Person who is acting in good faith with knowlegde of wrong doing. Usually a defendant who appears in the court for the trial of a crime in which he.she is accused, pleas not guilty or innocent, in order to save oneself and buy time to prove his/her point.

History and Meaning of Innocent

The term "innocent" has its roots in Latin and means "not harmful" or "not guilty." It is often used in the legal system to describe a defendant who has not been proven guilty of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In criminal cases, the burden of proving guilt falls on the prosecution, and if they cannot provide enough evidence to convince a jury, the defendant is presumed innocent.

In some cases, the term "innocent" can also refer to someone who has not been involved in a particular situation and is not responsible for any negative consequences that may have arisen from it. For example, a bystander who witnesses a crime but does not participate in it would be considered innocent.

Examples of Innocent

  • The defendant pleaded innocent to the charges of theft and embezzlement.
  • The witness testified that she saw the accused at home at the time of the crime and that he was innocent.
  • The lawyer argued that his client was innocent because there was no solid evidence implicating him in the crime.
  • The victim's family insisted that their loved one was innocent and had been wrongfully accused.

Legal Terms Similar to Innocent

  • Presumption of innocence: The legal principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
  • Acquittal: The legal outcome of a trial when the defendant is found not guilty of the charges against them.
  • Not guilty: A plea entered by a defendant in a criminal case indicating that they do not admit to the charges brought against them.