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Legal Terms

Associate Division of the Circuit Court – The Court in which most criminal charges are initially filed in; misdemeanor and felony.  Most misdemeanor cases stay in the Associate Court through sentencing/final disposition while the felony cases go on (are sent on) to the Circuit Court.

Circuit Court – Court where most of the felony cases reach final sentencing/disposition.

Arraignment – The Judge reads the charges to the defendant and outlines the sentencing possibilities of each charge. Defendant may enter a plea (guilty or not guilty) at arraignment.  No testimony is required and only the Judge, Prosecutor, Defendant, and Defendant’s attorney (if applicable) are required to be there.

Preliminary Hearing Setting – A hearing held in the Associate Division of the Circuit Court to set a date for the preliminary hearing.  No testimony is required and only the Judge, Prosecutor, Defendant, and Defendant’s attorney (if applicable) are required to be there.

Preliminary Hearing – A hearing with testimony held in the Associate Division of the Circuit Court.  The prosecution must prove to the Judge that we have enough evidence of the defendant’s guilt to send the case on to the Circuit Court.

Preliminary Hearing Waiver – The defendant gives up his right to a preliminary hearing, basically admitting that the prosecution has enough evidence for the case to go on to the Circuit Court.  No testimony is required and only the Judge, Prosecutor, Defendant, and Defendant’s attorney (if applicable) are required to be there.

Bound Over to Circuit Court – The defendant’s case is sent on to the Circuit Court.

Trial Setting - A hearing held to set a date for the trial.  No testimony is required and only the Judge, Prosecutor, Defendant, and Defendant’s attorney (if applicable) are required to be there.

Plea – A hearing at which the defendant enters a final plea to the charges, usually held when the prosecution and the defense reach agreement on a guilty plea.  The prosecution normally will recommend a lower sentence or charge in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea.  No testimony is required and only the Judge, Prosecutor, Defendant, and Defendant’s attorney (if applicable) are required to be there.

Bench Trial – A hearing in which the Judge decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant.  Both sides present testimony and/or evidence to prove or disprove the guilt of the defendant.

Jury Trial - A hearing in which a jury is selected to render a verdict of guilty or not guilty.  Both sides present testimony and/or evidence to prove or disprove the guilt of the defendant.

Sentencing/Disposition – A hearing in which the defendant is told what his sentence/punishment will be, after a plea of guilty or a finding of guilty by Judge or jury.  Victims have a right to speak at sentencing, but must let us know their wish to do so beforehand.  No testimony is required and only the Judge, Prosecutor, Defendant, and Defendant’s attorney (if applicable) are required to be there.

**Please note: The only time a victim/witness must appear is when testimony is required at a preliminary hearing, depositions, and/or trial.  The prosecuting attorney’s office will notify and/or subpoena victim/witness.  All other times are as the victim/witness wishes.

Maysville, missouri