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
nolle prosequi
Latin for "we shall no longer prosecute." At trial, this is an entry made on the record by a prosecutor in a criminal case stating that he will no longer pursue the matter. An entry of nolle prosequi may be made at any time after charges are brought and before a verdict is returned or a plea entered. Essentially, it is an admission on the part of the prosecution that some aspect of its case against the defendant has fallen apart. Most of the time, prosecutors need a judge’s permission to “nol-pros” a case. (See Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48a.) Abbreviated “nol. pros.” or “nol-pros.”
nolo
Latin for "I choose not to." See nolo contendre.
nolo contendere
A plea entered by the defendant in response to being charged with a crime. If a defendant pleads nolo contendere, she neither admits nor denies that she committed the crime, but agrees to a punishment (usually a fine or jail time) as if guilty. Usually, this type of plea is entered because it can't be used as an admission of guilt if a civil case is held after the criminal trial.
nominal damages
See damages.
noncompete
See noncompetition agreement.
noncompetition agreement
An agreement, generally included in an employment contract or a contract for the sale of a business, where one party agrees not to compete with the other party for a specific period of time and within a particular area. Salespeople, for example, often sign noncompetition agreements that prevent them from using the contacts gained by one employer to benefit another employer. Or a salesperson may sign what is known as a “noncompete,” agreeing not to sell within a particular area, or even work in the same type of business. In some states, such as California, courts view noncompetition agreements with disfavor and will not enforce them unless the restrictions are very narrow. In other states, courts routinely uphold them.
nondischargeable debts
Debts that cannot be erased by filing for bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, these debts will remain when your case is over. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the nondischargeable debts will have to be paid in full during your plan or you will have a balance at the end of your case. Examples of nondischargeable debts include alimony and child support, most income tax debts, many student loans and debts for personal injury or death caused by drunk driving. Compare dischargeable debts.
nondisclosure agreement
A legally binding contract in which a person or business promises to treat specific information as a trade secret and not disclose it to others without proper authorization. Nondisclosure agreements are often used when a business discloses a trade secret to another person or business for such purposes as development, marketing, evaluation or securing financial backing. Although nondisclosure agreements are usually in the form of written contracts, they may also be implied if the context of a business relationship suggests that the parties intended to make an agreement. For example, a business that conducts patent searches for inventors is expected to keep information about the invention secret, even if no written agreement is signed, because the nature of the business is to deal in confidential information.
nonexempt property
The property you risk losing to your creditors when you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or when a creditor sues you and wins a judgment. Nonexempt property typically includes valuable clothing (furs) and electronic equipment, an expensive car that's been paid off and most of the equity in your house. Compare exempt property.
nonimmigrant
People who come to the United States temporarily for some particular purpose but do not remain permanently. There are many types of nonimmigrants. Students, temporary workers and visitors are some of the most common.
nonimmigrant visa
A U.S. visa that allows an individual to come to the United States temporarily and for a limited purpose. Each nonimmigrant visa comes with a different set of privileges, such as the right to work or study. In addition to a descriptive name, a letter of the alphabet and a number identifies each type of nonimmigrant visa. Student visas, for example, are F-1 or M-1 and investors are E-2. Nonimmigrant visas also vary according to how long they permit you to stay in the United States. For example, on an investor visa, you can remain for many years, but on a visitor's visa, you can stay for only six months at a time.
nonobviousness
A requirement for obtaining a patent. An invention is nonobvious if it would be viewed as an unexpected or surprising development by someone skilled in the technology of the particular field. For example, Babe Ruth III invents an electronic device that can signal whether a pitch is a ball or a strike. Babe's patent application is rejected on the ground that similar technology has been developed for television commentators and that Babe's invention extending these prior art developments to the game itself is obvious (in patent-speak, it "lacks nonobviousness") and is therefore not patentable.
nonprobate
The distribution of a deceased person's property by any means other than probate. Many types of property pass free of probate, including property left to a surviving spouse and property left outside of a will through probate-avoidance methods such as pay-on-death designations, joint tenancy ownership, living trusts and life insurance. Property that avoids probate is sometimes described as the “nonprobate estate.” Nonprobate distribution may also occur if the deceased person leaves an invalid will. In that case, property will pass according to the particular state's laws of intestate succession.
nonprofit corporation
A legal structure authorized by state law allowing people to come together to either benefit members of an organization (a club, or mutual benefit society) or for some public purpose (such as a hospital, environmental organization or literary society). Nonprofit corporations, despite the name, can make a profit, but the business cannot be designed primarily for profit-making purposes, and the profits must be used for the benefit of the organization or purpose the corporation was created to help. When a nonprofit corporation dissolves, any remaining assets must be distributed to another nonprofit, not to board members. As with for-profit corporations, directors of nonprofit corporations are normally shielded from personal liability for the organization's debts. Some nonprofit corporations qualify for a federal tax exemption under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, with the result that contributions to the nonprofit are tax deductible by their donors.
nonrefundable ticket
An airline ticket for which you cannot get your money back if you decide not to travel. Each airline has its own policies and exceptions regarding nonrefundable tickets. For example, many airlines will allow you to apply the amount of an unused ticket towards a later flight, subject to a fee.