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Legal Definitions

  • Bond: A monetary amount set by the court that a defendant can post in order to be released from custody. A bond must be set in all criminal cases except for capital cases. The bond is usually based upon such factors as how dangerous the defendant is to the community and flight risk.
  • Defendant: A person charged with breaking the law.
  • Defense Attorney: An attorney hired or appointed to represent the defendant and defend him/her against criminal charges.
  • Deputy Prosecuting Attorney: The attorney appointed by the elected Prosecutor for the county to represent the State and handle the criminal charges against defendants.
  • Evidence: The testimony and physical items involved in the crime, presented by witnesses at the trial.
  • Information: An official document filed with the court by the Prosecuting Attorney setting forth the crimes allegedly committed.
  • Own Recognizance (OR): Releasing the defendant from custody without requiring any bond.
  • Plea Bargain: An agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor as to what charge the defendant will plead guilty and what sentencing recommendation the prosecutor will make to the court. Every effort is made to inform the victim about the plea negotiation and get their input.
  • Release Conditions: Requirements imposed by the court that the defendant must follow if he/she is released from custody. These conditions can include no contact with the victim and witnesses, geographical restrictions, drug testing, etc.
  • Subpoena: A written order to be at the court proceedings at a certain date and time. Please remember to call the Deputy Prosecutor Attorney handling your case or the Victim/Witness Unit to confirm the specific time and date to appear.
  • Testify: To tell the truth in the courtroom before the jury and/or judge.
  • Victim Impact Statement: The victim (or survivors) may write a letter or speak directly to the judge concerning how the crime has affected them. If a Victim Impact Statement is received prior to the sentencing, the Judge and defense attorney may get a copy of the VIS. Download a Victim Impact Statement cover letter (PDF).
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