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A formal criminal charge against a person alleged to have committed an offense punishable by law, which is presented before a court or a magistrate having jurisdiction to inquire into the alleged crime.

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution provides in part that a person accused of a crime has the right "to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation." Thus in any federal criminal prosecution, the statute setting forth the crime in the accusation must define the offense in sufficiently clear terms so that an average person will be informed of the acts that come within its scope. The charge must also inform the accused in clear and unambiguous language of the offense with which he or she is being charged under the statute. An accused has the same rights when charged with violating state Criminal Law because the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies the guarantees of the Sixth Amendment to the states. The paper in which the accusation is set forth—such as an indictment, information, or a complaint—is called an accusatory instrument.

Most state constitutions contain language similar to that in the Sixth Amendment. In many state rules of Criminal Procedure, the accusatory instrument serves to protect the state constitutional rights of the accused. In Louisiana, for example, the purpose of a bill of information is to inform a defendant of the nature and cause of the accusation against him or her as required by the Louisiana State Constitution (State v. Stevenson, 2003 WL 183998 [La. App. 2003]).

In order to quash a bill of information or other accusatory instrument, the accused must present direct evidence not established by the record, showing the bill was insufficient. The accused generally has the Burden of Proof to demonstrate that the accusatory instrument was insufficient. The rules of evidence in a particular jurisdiction apply to the evidentiary determination of the sufficiency of the accusatory instrument.


Criminal Law.


n. 1) in legal terms accusation means officially charging someone with a crime either by indictment by a grand jury or filing charges by a District Attorney. 2) in lay terms any claim of wrongdoing by another person.


noun accusal, accusatio, allegation, assertion, attribution, bill of indictment, charge, citation, crimen, crimination, delation, filing of charges, formal charge, imputation, imputation of blame, incrimination, inculpation, indictment, information, preferring of charges, true bill, true charge
Associated concepts: accusatory instrument, complaint, grand jury report, indictment, information, presentment, warrant
Foreign phrases: Accusare nemo se debet, nisi coram deo.No one is bound to accuse himself, except before God.
See also: arraignment, blame, charge, claim, complaint, condemnation, count, criticism, culpability, denunciation, diatribe, disparagement, impeachment, incrimination, inculpation, indictment, information, innuendo, libel, objurgation, obloquy, onus, outcry, pleading, presentment, reproach, slander, stricture


a formal charge brought against a person stating the crime that he is alleged to have committed. The term may also be used more loosely to refer to a civil complaint.

ACCUSATION, crim. law. A charge made to a competent officer against one who has committed a crime or misdemeanor, so that he may be brought to justice and punishment.
     2. A neglect to accuse may in some cases be considered a misdemeanor, or misprision. (q.v.) 1 Bro. Civ. Law, 247; 2 Id. 389; Inst. lib. 4, tit. 18.
     3. It is a rule that no man is bound to accuse himself, or to testify against himself in a criminal case. Accusare nemo se debet nisi coram Deo. Vide Evidence; Interest; Witness.

References in periodicals archive ?
He labelled Spirko's statements as absurd, denied the accusations voiced by Spirko and suggested that it was peculiar that Spirko made them public just before the public gatherings.
Commenting on the US accusations, Ryabkov told journalists on Tuesday that these accusations constitute audacious distortion of facts, stressing the need for a true investigation that uncovers the true perpetrators of the chemical attacks in Syria, adding that sadly the UN-OPCW joint mechanism did not work to achieve this.
Douglas said that the accusations also included a claim that he "used colourful language" in her earshot, as well as on the phone in private conversations, and that he "blackballed" the unnamed woman after she left his employ.
Unsurprisingly both allegations received a strong pushback from the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) and especially from Ishaq Dar, setting off another round of accusations and counter accusations .
In response, Dutoit's office told AP on Saturday the accusations "have absolutely no basis in truth.
Abella noted that the President wanted to make sure that 'things do not become sheer reckless accusations.
Gulalai levelled allegations against Khan, PTI secretary general Jehangir Tareen, and other party leaders, but did not substantiate her accusations by producing corroborative evidences, he said and added she had demanded a ticket for contesting election in the 2018 general elections and on refusal, she stooped to accusations.
Body cameras similar to those worn by police as they work could help counter accusations against bin collectors, and gather footage to tackle problems such as over-filled bins and waste which has not been put out correctly.
BEIRUT: The Order of Maronite Monks issued a statement Wednesday dismissing embezzlement accusations as an attempt to discredit the organization, state media reported.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders and Minister of Defense Steven Vandeput strongly deny the various and repeated accusations brought forward in the Russian media, as well as by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, in relation to alleged airstrikes by Belgian Air Force aircraft at the Hassadjek village in the Aleppo region in the night of 17 to 18 October 2016.
Plusieurs deputes ont reclame mardi l'ouverture d'une information judiciaire sur les accusations de corruption portees recemment contre certains elus.
TEHRAN (FNA)- An informed source on Thursday categorically rejected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's claims that he has warned his Iranian counterpart to avoid repeating or supporting the Russian accusations about Turkey's oil trade with the ISIL terrorist group.