Duhaime's Law Dictionary D Legal definitions for terms and concepts beginning with D Damages A cash compensation ordered by a court to offset losses or suffering caused by another’s fault or negligence. Damnum Absque Injuria Latin: harm absent a wrong. Damnum Injuria Datum Latin: wrongful injury to the property of another. Dance Hall A public hall devoted to dancing and for which admission is not based on personal selection or invitation. Danegeld An English tax initially intended to pay for national defence against the Danes. Dangerous Driving The operating of a motor vehicle in a manner which has as one of its inherent qualities the exposure of the public to harm or injury. Dangerous Offender A person convicted of serious crimes and who is likely to re-offend. Danger to Society Where an offender would engage in conduct, the consequences of which would be grave or serious for society. Day A consecutive period of 24 hours. Deadbeat Dad A father who ignores a Court order to pay child support. Dead Donor Rule A custom of medical-legal ethics that vital organs should only be transplanted from dead patients. Deadly Force Force which creates a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury. Death Irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions and of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. Death Duties Tax payments due to the state, incurred and payable as a result of the death of the tax-payer. Death Penalty A sentence of death imposed on a convicted criminal. De Bene Esse To take something for what it is worth, such as evidence collected for the time being, in the absence of, but in anticipation of, litigation, admissibility to be determined when such thing is sought to be used against another at trial. Debenture A document which creates or acknowledges a debt or loan. De Bonis Non Latin: assets not yet administered. Debt An amount of money due and payable, from one person to another. Debtor A person who owes money, goods or services to another, the latter being referred to as the creditor. Decedent An individual who has died. Deceit Willful or reckless misrepresentation or concealment of material facts with an intent to mislead. Deceptive Trade Practice An intentional act or omission in the course of trade or commerce that has the tendency or capacity to mislead or create the likelihood of deception. Decertification A vote by members of a collective bargaining unit to dissociate from the incumbent union. Declaration of War An explicit warning from one state to another, in the form either of a reasoned intent to commence hostilities or of an ultimatum which carries the same result. Decree A decision or order of government or judicial body. Decree Absolute The name given to a final and conclusive court order after the condition of an interim or intervening order (decree nisi) is met. Decree Nisi A provisional decision of a court which does not have force or effect until a certain condition is met such as another petition brought before the court or after the passage of a period time. Dedimus Potestatem de Attornato Faciendo Latin: to substitute an attorney. Deed A binding promise to do something or certifying a transaction which adheres to required legal rituals such as a seal or form of signature. Deem To accept a document or an event as conclusive of a certain status in the absence of evidence or facts which would normally be required to prove that status. De Facto Latin: in fact. Defalcation 1. Defaulting on a debt or other obligation such to account for public or trust funds. Usually used in the context of public officials. 2. The setting-off of two debts owed between two people by the agreement to a new amount representing the balance. Defamation An attack on the good reputation of a person, by slander or libel. Defamatory Libel Deliberate publication of defamatory lies which the publisher knows to be false. Default Judgment An order of the Court striking a claim because no appearance, answer, reply or defence has been filed within the applicable deadlines. Defeasance A side-contract which contains a condition which, if realized, could defeat the main contract. Defence of Habitation The right to use lethal force to prevent a felony committed within a person's home. Defendant The individual, company or organization who defends a legal action taken by a plaintiff and against whom the court has been asked to order damages or specific corrective action redress some type of unlawful or improper action alleged by the plaintiff. Defense Attorney or Defence Counsel Lawyers who represent persons facing criminal charges. Deficient USA constitutional law: the substandard performance of an attorney. De Fide et Officio Judicis non Recipitur Quaestio, sed de Scientia Sive sit Eror Juris sive Facti Latin: The bona fides and honesty of purpose of a judge cannot be questioned, but his decision may be impugned for error of law or of fact. Defile To corrupt the integrity of a thing. Defunct Company A corporation which has been cancelled by the jurisdiction which initially created it. Dehors French for outside. In the context of legal proceedings, it refers to that which is irrelevant or outside the scope of the debate. De injuria sua propria absque tali causa Latin: of his own wrong (or injury) without any other cause. De Jure Latin: of the law. Delegatus Non Potest Delegare Latin: a delegate cannot delegate. Deliberate An act which is neither sudden nor rash and for which an individual considered the probable consequences beforehand. Deliberate Ignorance Willful blindness to criminal activity. 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