Legalese From A to Z: 5 Legal Terms Beginning With 'H'
In today's installment of Legalese From A to Z, we once again turn to FindLaw's Legal Dictionary to help explain the plain-English meanings behind five more legal terms you may not know. Here are a few highlights you'll find listed under the letter "H":
- Half blood. A half blood is the legal name for persons with only one parent in common, commonly called half brothers or half sisters. References to half blood relatives and their descendants are typically found is the context of state intestacy codes, which control the distribution of estates for those who die without a will or those whose wills fail.
- Hearsay. If you've watched courtroom television dramas or movies, you've likely heard a lawyer object to testimony as being "hearsay." Hearsay is any statement made out of court and not under oath which is being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. For example, testifying about what someone else said is hearsay if it's being offered to prove that what that person said is true, rather than for another purpose, such as to show that person's state of mind. Hearsay rules also apply to writings and other documents, not just verbal statements.
- Heat of passion. Heat of passion is a state of mind in which provocation overcomes an individual's ability to control his or her actions. A person charged with homicide may be convicted of manslaughter, as opposed to murder, if he can show that the homicide was committed in the heat of passion.
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus test. The horizontal gaze nystagmus test is a test used by police officers to determine an individual's level of intoxication, often during a DUI stop. The test measures the involuntary jerking motion of a person's eyes as they follow the horizontal motion of a pen or another object in a police officer's hand.
- Hot pursuit. In the legal context, hot pursuit is considered the immediate and continuous pursuit of a fleeing suspect by law enforcement. While in hot pursuit, officers may be justified in entering, searching, or seizing property or persons without first having to obtain a warrant, which would otherwise be required under the Fourth Amendment.
For more legal definitions (more than 8,000, in fact), head on over to FindLaw's free Legal Dictionary. And join us again next Sunday, when Legalese From A to Z will explain five more legal terms you may not know, beginning with the letter "I."
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