count | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

In the legal context, a count is a separate charge or accusation made against a defendant in a criminal case.

A criminal complaint or indictment may contain multiple counts, each of which represents a distinct charge or offense.

For example, suppose a defendant is accused of committing several burglaries. In that case, the criminal complaint or indictment might include one count for each burglary, with the counts being labeled as “Count 1,” “Count 2,” and so on. In this case, the defendant would be required to stand trial on each count separately, and a jury or judge would consider the evidence and arguments related to each count in deciding the case.

The number of counts in a criminal case can vary depending on the specifics of the case, and a defendant may be found guilty of some counts but not others. The penalties for each count are generally determined separately and may be cumulative if the defendant is found guilty on multiple counts.

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Last Modified: 01/08/2023


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