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Glossary of Legal Terms
(Starting with "V")

By Henry Dahut,,
Studio City, CA, U.S.A.


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The judge has the ultimate power to rule on all issues of fact and law. The court can even vacate a judgement if he believes it to be improper.

vacation time

Paid or unpaid time off from work to take a vacation.


This is better known as loitering or causing a public nuisance. Vagrancy is typically the product of poverty and mental illness. This has been constitutionally challenged on the basis that it should not be a crime to be homeless.


The present worth of property, given its age and present condition.

vehicular manslaughter

The unintentional killing of a human being by the reckless use of an automobile. Most criminal charges are based on impaired driving as the result of drug and/or alcohol use.


The proper court or venue in a criminal case is the judicial district or county in which the crime was committed. In certain criminal matters where the crime received substantial publicity, the defense lawyer may motion the court for a change in venue. The motion is based on the argument that the defendant could not receive a fair trial in the county in which the crime took place because jurors have been exposed to the pretrial publicity and therefore predisposed to decide the case before hearing any of the evidence.


At the conclusion of a trial the defendant will receive the decision of the jury regarding the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The trial court, when it acts as the trier of fact, can also render a verdict. All verdicts are subject to appeal and review by a higher court.

veterans' benefits

Compensation from the government for previous military service. Such benefits are exempt property in bankruptcy.

veteran status discrimination

Veteran status discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently because of the employee's military veteran status.


A travel document allowing a person to seek admission to a country. A visa may be in the form of an immigrant visa, a nonimmigrant visa, or a refugee visa.

visa lottery

An annual lottery conducted to allow the admission of a limited number of persons from certain designated countries as immigrants.

visitation rights

Rights granted to the spouse who does not have physical custody of the child to spend specified periods of time with the child. Visitation rights are sometimes granted to other relatives, such as grandparents.

vocational rehabilitation

Training that is paid for by an employer or workers' compensation insurance company for a worker whose on-the-job injury prevents him from going back to his old job.

void marriage

A marriage invalid for any purpose. For example, a marriage between brother and sister is invalid from its inception and is void. Compare Voidable Marriage.

voidable marriage

A marriage in which one or more requirements was not met, but which remains valid until a court annuls it. For example, a marriage entered into by persons younger than the legal age is voidable, but it remains a valid marriage until a court decree of annulment.

voir dire

French for "speak the truth." It is the formal questioning of prospective jurors to determine if they could be fair and follow the law as it relates to their judgements and predispositions. Prospective jurors are asked to speak the truth about their ideas and feelings relative to the crime they must judge. If the juror is so biased or has such prejudice that he or she could not be fair and follow the law, the juror will be excused and removed from serving.

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