Suspect, Accused, Convict – Three Related Words

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Suspect, accused, and convict, are three related legal terms which are closely tied. If someone commits a crime, but they are not officially charged, they are still a suspect, and cannot be described as an accused or convict, especially when writing the news.

Even if the person was seen committing the crime, they still remain a suspect until they are officially charged by the police. When the suspect has been officially charged by the police, they become an accused. The accused will then be required to plead to the charges. If he pleads guilty, he is automatically convicted, and becomes a convict. However, he he pleads not guilty, the trial to prove his innocence or guilt is started.

Trial may be a long drawn out process. During the trial, the accused remains innocent until proven guilty – by legal definition. If the court finds the accused guilty, he becomes a convict.

Suspect, accused, and convict, then, are three closely related words.