Preparing for Being a Witness

  1. Introduction
  2. Testifying
  3. Confirm Your Appearance
  4. Additional Assistance

A Brief Introduction to your Criminal Court System

  • Defendant - Person accused of a crime.
  • Prosecutor - An attorney who represents the citizens of the State in prosecuting criminals.
  • Defense Attorney - An attorney who represents the defendant.
  • Misdemeanor - A criminal offense punishable by incarceration in the county jail for up to one year.
  • Felony - A criminal offense more serious than a misdemeanor, which is punishable by incarceration in the state penitentiary.
  • Preliminary Hearing - A hearing in a felony case to determine if there is enough evidence for felony charges to proceed to trial in District Court.
  • Trial - Evidence is presented and testimony is given before a jury or judge, and guilt or innocence is decided.
  • Conviction - Where a defendant is found guilty of a crime.
  • Guilty Plea - Admission of guilt by a defendant in court. This will alleviate the need for trial.
  • Sentence - After being found guilty a judge may choose to order any of the following for a defendant: imprisonment, probation, fine, restitution.
  • Pre-Sentence Investigation - In felony cases, the judge orders a pre-sentence investigation into the defendant's background to assist the Court in determining an appropriate sentence. A presentence report is written and provided to the judge, the prosecutor and the defense attorney. A victim has the right to make a statement in the pre-sentence report.