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An individual who has been formally charged with a criminal offense but who has not yet been tried and convicted.

Culprit is a colloquial rather than a legal term and is commonly applied to someone who is guilty of a minor degree of moral reprehensibility. According to Sir William Blackstone, the term is most likely a derivative of the archaic mode of Arraignment during which upon a prisoner's plea of not guilty the cleric would say culpabilis prit, meaning "he is guilty and the crown is ready." The more common derivation is from culpa, meaning "fault or blame."

See: convict, delinquent, embezzler, felon, malefactor

CULPRIT, crim. law. When a prisoner is arraigned, and he pleads not guilty, in the English practice, the clerk, who arraigns him on behalf of the crown, replies that the prisoner is guilty, and that he is ready to prove the accusation; this is done by two monosyllables, cul prit. Vide Abbreviations; 4 Bl. Com. 339; 1 Chit. Cr. Law, 416.

References in periodicals archive ?
The purpose, of creating deterrence and making an example out of the culprit, can even be achieved through media publicity of the execution of the punishment, the CII said while referring to interpretation of Islamic scholars and jurisprudence.
The concerned court sentenced the culprits to three years in jail and fined them RO5,000.
Unfortunately, those officers who had implicated innocent persons were not taken to task for letting the real culprits slip away and for implicating innocent persons.
This is unfair for the person whom the culprit has cheated.
A new computer program may render a more dependable likeness of culprits than the methods employed at police stations today, researchers say.
After the arguments, the learned Judge awarded life imprisonment to culprits Mohammad Sharif and his son Adnan.
In the search for the culprit in Huntington's, it points toward the compounds that act specifically on the NMDA receptor.
Addressing a press conference at 180-H Model Town, he said that Joint Investigation Team (JIT) was constituted to probe Zainab case and it made day and night efforts to arrest the real culprit, adding that the real culprit had been arrested in 14 days with the grace of Allah Almighty.
Talking to media, Zainab's father said that it is likely that the culprit belongs to some other city.