A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
border patrol
The historical term for what is now called the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection ("BCBP"), a branch of the Department of Homeland Security. The primary functions of the BCBP/border patrol are to guard the borders from illegal entrants and to meet and question immigrants and visitors arriving at airports and other border stops.
breach
A failure or violation of a legal obligation.
breach of contract
A legal claim that one party failed to perform as required under a valid agreement with the other party. For example you might say, "The roofer breached our contract by using substandard supplies when he repaired my roof."
brief
A document used to submit a legal contention or argument to a court. A brief typically sets out the facts of the case and a party's argument as to why she should prevail. These arguments must be supported by legal authority and precedent, such as statutes, regulations and previous court decisions. Although it is usually possible to submit a brief to a trial court (called a trial brief), briefs are most commonly used as a central part of the appeal process (an appellate brief). But don't be fooled by the name -- briefs are usually anything but brief, as pointed out by writer Franz Kafka, who defined a lawyer as "a person who writes a 10,000 word decision and calls it a brief."
bulk sales law
A law that regulates the transfer of business assets so that business owners cannot dispose of assets in order to avoid creditors. If a business owner wants to conduct a bulk sale of business assets -- that is, get rid of an unusually large amount of inventory, merchandise or equipment -- the business owner must typically publish a notice of the sale and give written notice to creditors. Then, the owner must set up an account to hold the funds from the sale for a brief period of time during which creditors may make claims against the money. The prohibition against bulk sales is spelled out in the Uniform Commercial Code -- and laws modeled on the UCC have been generally adopted throughout the country.
burden of proof
A party's job of convincing the decisionmaker in a trial that the party's version of the facts is true. In a civil trial, it means that the plaintiff must convince the judge or jury "by a preponderance of the evidence" that the plaintiff's version is true -- that is, over 50% of the believable evidence is in the plaintiff's favor. In a criminal case, because a person's liberty is at stake, the government has a harder job, and must convince the judge or jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
burglary
The crime of breaking into and entering a building with the intention to commit a felony. The breaking and entering need not be by force, and the felony need not be theft. For instance, someone would be guilty of burglary if he entered a house through an unlocked door in order to commit a murder.
business records exception
An exception to the hearsay rule, which allows a business document to be admitted into evidence if a proper foundation is laid to show it is reliable.
bylaws
The rules that govern the internal affairs or actions of a corporation. Normally bylaws are adopted by the shareholders of a profit-making business or the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation. Bylaws generally include procedures for holding meetings and electing the board of directors and officers. The bylaws also set out the duties and powers of a corporation's officers.
bypass trust
A trust designed to lessen a family's overall estate tax liability. An AB trust is the most popular kind of bypass trust.