Definitions

Many of the terms you will encounter in this booklet may be unfamiliar to you. The following definitions may help you understand what is meant. As always, don’t hesitate to call any of the Sheriff’s Victim Advocates or District Attorney’s Victim– Witness Coordinators if you have a question.

Arraignment: Court hearing where a defendant pleads guilty or not guilty. Witnesses do not testify at this hearing.

Arrest: The taking into custody of a person by a law enforcement agency.

Bond: Money or property that is promised to the Court to make sure a defendant will come back to court after getting out of jail.

Continuance: When a court hearing is continued.

Cold Case: A term used to describe unresolved cases. This happens when all leads have been exhausted and resulted in no suspects.

Correctional Facility: Any private or public entity providing correctional services. Correctional facilities include, but are limited to , a community corrections provider, the divisions of  youth corrections, and the Department of Corrections.

Critical Stages: Events in a case when a victim’s rights must be considered as explained in this booklet.

Defendant: A person who is accused of committing a crime.

Disposition: When a case is resolved without trial.

Filing of Charges: Presentation of written charges to the Clerk of the Court. The document is called a complaint, information, or indictment.

Motions Hearing: A hearing where the Judge decides what evidence will be allowed at trial.

No contact: A condition of Bond that means that a defendant cannot have contact with a victim by phone, letter, through a third person, or in person.

Plea Negotiations: A defendant pleads guilty to a charge or lesser charge in return for a sentence that may be less than if convicted of all charges at trial.