Background Check Terminology

ARD Program
Non-conviction. This stands for “Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program”. This disposition is most frequently found in the state of Pennsylvania and may be given to a defendant in place of judgment. If the defendant completes the program successfully, the case is closed.
Adjudicated Guilty
Conviction. The defendant has been found guilty of the charges.
Adjudication Withheld
Non-conviction. The court does not pronounce a final judgment about the case. Instead, the defendant is given probation, a program or community service that must be completed in a specific time-frame. Upon successful completion, the case may be dismissed, depending on the county or state. If the case is not dismissed in that particular county or state, the disposition will remain “adjudication withheld” and the case will be closed. If the defendant violates the sentence, the disposition may be changed and the defendant can be found guilty.
Acquitted
Non-Conviction. The charges against the defendant are dropped.
Bail/Bond Forfeiture
Non-Conviction. The defendant forfeits or pays their bond in place of going to trial.
Conditional Discharge
Non-conviction. There is no finding of guilt and the defendant is being discharged from trial but there are special conditions that must be followed. If the conditions are not followed, the discharge may be revoked in place of a finding of guilt.
Consent Decree
Conviction. This is found in New Mexico. It is designed as a disposition for juvenile cases in which the defendant pleas guilty and is placed on the decree/probation for six months.
Convicted
Conviction. The defendant is found guilty of the charges.
Dead Docket
Non-Conviction. Often seen in Fulton, GA. Not enough evidence that shows the defendant is guilty or that he is innocent. So case is set aside. If not brought back up, case is closed.
Deferred Judgment
Non-conviction. There is no finding of guilt. Rather, the judgment is set aside for a specific amount of time and the defendant must follow any conditions set forth. Depending upon the state or county, the case may be dismissed if the defendant successfully follows the conditions.
Dismissed
Non-Conviction. The charges against the defendant are dropped. Not enough evidence to convict.
Dropped
Non-Conviction. Not enough evidence to convict the defendant.
Fugitive File
This case has not been to trial yet and is normally found in Virginia.
Guilty in Absentia
Conviction. The jury finds the defendant guilty without his appearance in court.
Guilty
Conviction. It has been proven that the defendant committed the crime.
Ignored
Non-Conviction. The case never went to trial. It was ignored by the state.
Misdemeanor Intervention Program
Non-conviction. This is a program designated only for misdemeanor offenses in which the defendant may comply to the conditions of the program in order to avoid a conviction.
No Action
Non-Conviction. The court dropped the case and did not continue with the charges.
No Billed
Non-Conviction. The district attorney never sent the case to court and it was not tried.
No Information Filed
Non-Conviction. Mostly found in Florida. It means the case has been dropped.
Nolo Contendere
Conviction. This is Latin for “No Contest”. This is a plea that the defendant claims and then the court considers the defendant guilty.
Nolle Prosequi
Prosecutor has declared that he will no prosecute the case at this time.
Nolle Prosse
Non-Conviction. Latin for Not Prosecuted. This means there was not enough evidence to convict the defendant. The case is dropped.
Non-Adjudication of Guilt
Non-Conviction. Same as adjudication withheld.
No Papered
Non-Conviction. The paperwork was never sent to the court by the district attorney and the case was never filed. Therefore, it was never brought to trial.
Not Guilty
Non-Conviction. A jury or judge trial finding that the defendant is innocent.
Pending
The case has not been to trial at this time so there is no disposition to report.
Pled Guilty
Conviction. The defendant has pled guilty to the charges against him or her and the court accepts the plea as a conviction.
Prayer for Judgment
Non-Conviction. Deferred Prosecution, meaning state did not prosecute. Often seen in North Carolina. For example, with worthless checks it gives the defendant a chance to pay the check before being charged.
Pre-Trial Intervention
Non-conviction. A program the defendant is placed in before going to trial. If the defendant complies prior to trial time, the trial will not be held for the charge and the defendant is not convicted.
Process Other
Non-Conviction. Defendant was not charged on this count due to being charged for another count.
Refused
Non-Conviction. The case never went to trial. The state refused to hear the case.
Rejected
Non-Conviction. The case never went to trial. The state rejected the hearing of the case.
Returned Unserved
The case has not been to trial at this time. Found in North Carolina. A warrant, summons or paper from the district attorney’s office was issued for delivery to the defendant to appear for trial however, the defendant could not be located. Therefore, the case is technically pending, however, the paperwork was never served.
Stet Docket
Non-Conviction. Will not prosecute at this time. Eligible to be re-opened for one year for a violation is committed during that time. After the one-year period and not violations have been committed, it cannot be re-opened and the case is closed.
Stricken Off Leave
Non-Conviction. Often seen in Illinois. Stricken off docket with the ability to reinstate at a later date if deemed case can be prosecuted. This is often because the prosecutors run out of time to prosecute.
Waived
Conviction. Mainly found in the state of North Carolina. This means the defendant has waived his/her right to trial and has pled guilty to the charges. In turn, the court accepts the plea of guilt.