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Legal Terms You Should Know

Written by Tana Carpenter. Posted in Resource Center

Arraignment: A hearing where the defendant is formally
told of the charge(s) and enters a plea: no contest
(not contesting the facts), guilty (admitting charges), or
not guilty (denying charges).
Bond: The amount the defendant has to pay to get out
of jail on the charge; it acts as assurance the defendant
will appear to future court dates.
Cohabitation: Living together as spouses but not
married.
Continuance or Continued: A delay of a court
hearing to another day.
Defendant: The person against whom a charge is
brought.
Hearing: An arraignment, pre-trail, trial, sentencing,
or a court proceeding when a judge listens to information
presented and makes a decision.
Order to Vacate: An order to move someone out of
their residence.
Plaintiff: Person, company or government bringing
the charges or lawsuit against a defendant.
Pre-trial: A hearing date when the prosecutor and
defense attorney meet to discuss the facts of the case.
Prosecutor: A government lawyer who represents
the state’s case against the offender. Same as district
attorney.
Sentencing: A hearing where the judge decides the
punishment for the defendant.
Subpoena: A legal document ordering a witness to
appear in court.
Testimony: The statement of a witness, under oath, in
court.
Trial: A hearing in court to decide the outcome of the
case after both sides have presented their evidence and
witness testimony.

 Legal Terms You Should Know

Arraignment: A hearing where the defendant is formally told of the charge(s) and enters a plea: no contest (not contesting the facts), guilty (admitting charges), or not guilty (denying charges).

Bond: The amount the defendant has to pay to get out of jail on the charge; it acts as assurance the defendant will appear to future court dates.

Cohabitation: Living together as spouses but not married.

Continuance or Continued: A delay of a court hearing to another day.

Defendant: The person against whom a charge is brought.

Hearing: An arraignment, pre-trail, trial, sentencing,or a court proceeding when a judge listens to information presented and makes a decision.

Order to Vacate: An order to move someone out of their residence.

Plaintiff: Person, company or government bringing the charges or lawsuit against a defendant.

Pre-trial: A hearing date when the prosecutor and defense attorney meet to discuss the facts of the case.

Prosecutor: A government lawyer who represents the state’s case against the offender. Same as district attorney.

Sentencing: A hearing where the judge decides the punishment for the defendant.

Subpoena: A legal document ordering a witness to appear in court.

Testimony: The statement of a witness, under oath, in court.

Trial: A hearing in court to decide the outcome of the case after both sides have presented their evidence and witness testimony.

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