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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."

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Speaker of the provincial assembly Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani and provincial ministers Shaukat Yousafzai and Qalandar Khan Lodhi visited the girl's house and assured her family of speedy action by the police and law-enforcement agencies against the culprits.
The police team immediately conducted raids and nabbed the culprits identified as Fayyaz Ahmed, Ghulam Abbas, Kamran, Shafaqat, Ansar Abbas and Ramzan.
Tim Woolley says it was a miracle no-one was hurt or badly injured and has now offered a reward of PS1,000 for the conviction of the culprits.
There are cases where a ban was imposed by the court but was of no use as the culprit got plenty of time and left the country.
The NIOSH list of possible contributing culprits includes chemicals from office materials and mechanical equipment, tobacco smoke, microbiological contaminants and outside air pollutants.
The sources claimed the culprit was arrested on the spot and the arms used in the incident has also been taken in the custody.
KARACHI -- Sindh Rangers arrested 11 culprits involved in different crime and recovered huge cache of ammunitions on Thursday.
He said over 20 suspected persons had been interrogated, adding 200 DNA samples had been taken so far to reach the real culprit.
A culprit was sentenced to 14-year imprisonment in explosive material case by another ATC.
In another raid that took place in a cottage factory in Orangi Town Karachi, culprit Naimatullah Khan was found stealing gas from the main SSGC line for power generation purposes.
According to a Pakistan Rangers Sindh's statement here, the ATC gave sentence to the culprit Mohammed Saleem alias Tension on production of evidences and pleas by a prosecution team of Rangers.