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  • Legal Definitions

     

    Arraignment

    A court hearing in which the defendant pleads guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of insanity. This is the next scheduled court appearance after a preliminary hearing in cases where the defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing. Witnesses do not testify at this hearing.

    Bond

    Money or property that is promised or given to the Court to ensure a defendant will make scheduled court appearances if he or she is released from jail.

    Compensation

    A program to help pay for medical or funeral expenses, mental health therapy or lost wages for violent-crime victims. A police report must be made, and you must apply for these funds. For information, please call 303-271-6846.

    Continuance

    When a court hearing is delayed and rescheduled.

    Defendant

    A person accused of committing a crime.

    Disposition

    When a case is resolved without a trial.

    Filing of Charges

    The District Attorney’s Office presentation of written charges to the Clerk of the Court. The document is called a complaint or an information.

    Motions Hearing

    A hearing where the judge decides which evidence will be allowed at trial.

    No Contact Order

    A condition of bond by which a defendant cannot contact a victim by phone, letter, through a third party or in person.

    Plea Negotiations

    A defendant pleads guilty to a charge - or a lesser charge - in return for a sentence that may be more lenient than one issued if the defendant was convicted of the original charges at trial.

    Preliminary Hearing

    A hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to go to trial. This is the first hearing when witnesses may have to testify.

    Pretrial Conference

    A meeting of the Deputy District Attorney, defendant and defense attorney to discuss possible plea negotiations.

    Probation

    The release, under certain proscribed terms and conditions, of a person convicted of a crime as an alternative to imprisonment.

    Restitution

    After conviction, a defendant can be ordered to pay the victim for "out-of-pocket" financial losses.

    Sentence

    The penalty a judge imposes on a defendant who is convicted of a crime.

    Subpoena

    An order to come to court. A subpoena is mailed to the witness or personally delivered.

    Trial

    An examination of issues of fact and law before a judge or a jury. The prosecution and defense present evidence to help the jury or the court determine whether the defendant is guilty of committing a specific crime.

    Last Updated: 4-11-2013