Common Terms Used In Court

3.5 Hearing: A hearing to determine if any statement of guilt by the defendant can be used as evidence in a trial.

3.6 Hearing: A hearing to determine what evidence will be used at trial.

arraignment: In criminal cases, a court hearing where a defendant is advised of the charges and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

calendar: List of cases arranged for hearing at court.

contempt or contempt of court: the crime of deliberately failing to obey or respect the authority of a court of law

decree: Decision or order of the court. A final decree completes the case.

disposition: Judgment formally pronounced by a judge upon a juvenile defendant following conviction in a criminal prosecution

dissolution: Legal ending of a marriage; a divorce.

emancipation: Freeing a minor child (under the age 18) from the control of parents and allowing the minor to live on his/her own or under the control of others. Emancipation may also end the responsibility of a parent for the acts of a child.

hearing: An in-court proceeding before a judge.

motion: Oral or written request to the judge on which the court issues a ruling or order. Can be before, during or after a trial.

omnibus hearing: A pretrial criminal hearing normally scheduled at the same time the trial date is established. Purpose of the hearing is to ensure each party receives (or "discovers") vital information concerning the case held by the other. In addition, the judge may rule on the scope of discovery or on the admissibility of challenged evidence

plea: A criminal defendant's official statement of "guilty" or "not guilty" to the charge

pro se: (pronounced "proh say") is a Latin term meaning "for himself". If you act as your own attorney, you are appearing "pro se".

probate: The legal process of establishing the validity of a will and settling an estate.

probation: Set of conditions and regulations under which a person found guilty of a criminal offense is allowed to remain in the community, usually under the supervision of a probation officer.

restitution: Act of giving the equivalent for any loss, damage or injury.

sentence: Judgment formally pronounced by a judge upon a defendant following conviction in a criminal case.