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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 ?
While town protested for the apprehension of culprits and Chief Minister Balochistan, IG police and other officials had assured that killers of Muhammad Nawaz will soon be arrested but real culprits remained free.
According to sources, the culprit identified as Hammad Satti alias Maddi, a resident of Ghauri Town, was allegedly involved in an attack on a police party that injured a cop in the limits of Police Station Sadiqabad.
Sources have confirmed to that the police department failed to nab the real culprit, despite the geo fencing of 0.8m mobile calls and data analysis of 741 mobile calls.
This went on for a few weeks until the audience pointed out the culprits and the problem stopped.
While talking with journalists protesters alleged that individuals of Loonai community forcibly entered with ill intention in the house of Manzoor Mallah and tried to harass their adult daughters while some two days earlier, same alleged culprits were also entered the house of Abdul Sattar Solangi for fulfilment of his ill intention with minor girls of the family.
Also, rallies were staged by civil society members, religious parties and NGOs to condemn the incident and arrest culprits.
He added that the police team immediately raided the hideout and apprehended the culprit identified as Ansar Abbas, a resident of Chak No 6.
Unidentified culprits poisoned him and fled leaving him in critically condition.
According to the Police, the incident took place in Kot Hakeem area of Gomal in district Tank where the culprits opened indiscriminate fire at rivals.
A large number of the Bagri community people, residents of Qazi Ahmed recorded a protest demonstration for the arrest of the culprits sexually abusing their minor girl on Monday.
PESHAWAR: National Highways and Motorways Police (NH and MP) recovered drugs from a vehicle but the culprits fled leaving the vehicle by roadside in the provincial capital on Saturday.