Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. These questions are the most typical questions we get in reference to misdemeanor. If you have a court question that doesn't appear below you can contact us at 509-397-3861
What happens at my initial appearance in court?
A defendant’s (the accused) first appearance in Court. At this court appearance, the defendant is informed of the charges, or potential charges, and potential penalties, informed of his/her rights, given the opportunity to apply for a court appointed attorney, bail is set and a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest is entered. If a plea is guilty or no contest, sentencing takes place or a Sentencing Hearing is set.
What is a motion?
A verbal or written request that asks the judge to rule on a legal question made by the prosecutor or the public defender where they try to resolve the case without a trial.
What is a pre-trial conference?
An informal hearing between the prosecutor, the defense attorney and the defendant where the case is attempted to be resolved without a trial.
What is a status conference?
A court hearing set so that the parties can discuss if an agreement can be reached before the trial date. If an agreement has been reached, it could become a plea and sentencing hearing.
What is a trial?
An official hearing in which either a jury (jury trial) or judge (bench trial) hears the facts of the case. Through physical evidence and testimony by witnesses, the prosecutor attempts to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant’s guilt. If the defendant is found guilty, the judge may sentence the defendant immediately or set the case for a sentencing hearing.
What is a plea/sentencing hearing?
A court hearing in which the judge decides how to punish and rehabilitate the defendant. A sentencing hearing follows a plea of guilty or no contest plea, or a finding of guilty by a jury or judge.
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Deborah McCormick-Public Defender