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How long will I be in court? <br />You may be excused after a few minutes or you <br />might be needed for more than a day. Most <br />witnesses are on the witness stand less than an hour. <br />There is usually a waiting period so you may want to <br />bring something to read. <br />Call the VictimlWitness Assistance Unit if you need to <br />know in advance how long you are expected to be <br />available to testify or if you have questions about <br />where to park, dress code for court, etc. <br />What can I do with my children? <br />Court can be long and complex. It is not a good <br />place to entertain children so try to find a relative, <br />neighbor or friend to care for your children at home. <br />If you are unable to do so, call the VictimlWitness <br />Assistance Unit for help. <br />Will I be safe at court? <br />If you have concerns about your safety, talk to the <br />Victim/Witness Assistance Unit. As needed, <br />arrangements can be made for separate waiting <br />areas and other safety measures. <br />What if the defendant is not convicted? <br />You may feel that justice has failed, but it is important <br />to remember that our system calls for guilt beyond a <br />reasonable doubt. With your help, the Prosecutor's <br />Office will do as much as it can to get a conviction but <br />it may not be enough. As strong as the evidence <br />may seem to you, the judge or jury might have <br />reasonable doubts. Even if there is no conviction, the <br />offender may be discouraged from committing future <br />crimes. <br />Definitions <br />Acquittal — a discharge or release which takes place when <br />the judge orjury finds a verdict of not guilty after a trial. <br />Arraignment — a hearing at which the defendant is formally <br />notified of the charges and at which time a plea of not guilty, <br />guilty, or no contest is entered. If a not guilty plea is <br />entered, the case is given a trial date. <br />Bail — an amount of money set by the police or court which <br />must be posted or pledged before an accused may be <br />released from jail to assure the person's presence in court. <br />Bench Warrant — a written court order directing the police <br />or sheriff to arrest a person who has failed to appear at <br />court, failed to follow a court order, or has been indicted by <br />the Grand Jury for a crime. <br />Contempt — willful disobedience to or open disrespect for a <br />court or judge. <br />Defendant — a person arrested and charged with <br />committing a crime. <br />Deferred Acceptance of Guilty Plea (DAG) or Deferred <br />Acceptance of No Contest Plea (DANC) — a pretrial <br />procedure where the judge delays acceptance of the <br />defendant's plea of guilty or no contest and places the <br />defendant on probation with conditions. The charges may <br />be dismissed upon successful completion of the terms and <br />conditions set by the court. <br />Dismissed — the court can dismiss the charges against a <br />defendant for a number of reasons. This does not mean the <br />person was found "not guilty ". <br />Felony— a crime punishable by more than a year in jail. <br />Grand Jury — a jury of 8 -16 people who determine if there is <br />probable cause to believe that the suspect committed the <br />crime. Defendant, defense attorney and judge are not <br />present at this proceeding. <br />Indict — to formally accuse in writing. <br />Misdemeanor— a crime with a punishment of no more than <br />one year in jail. <br />No Contest or "Nolo Contendere" — a Latin phrase <br />meaning "I will not contest it ". The principal difference <br />between a plea of guilty and a plea of no contest is that the <br />latter may not be used against the defendant in a civil action <br />based on the same acts. <br />Penal Summons — an official complaint with a set court <br />date. <br />Plea — a defendant's answer to a charge filed against him or <br />her (guilty, not guilty, no contest). <br />Preliminary Hearing — a procedure at which a judge <br />determines if there is probable cause to believe that the <br />defendant committed the crime. <br />Probable Cause — a reasonable belief which supports that <br />a defendant did actually commit the crime. <br />Prosecutor — a lawyer who represents the State in criminal <br />proceedings and is responsible for bringing the accused to <br />justice. <br />Released — after arrest, the defendant may be released with <br />no charge, or released pending further investigation. <br />Sentencing — when the court decides on the punishment to <br />be given to the defendant after a defendant pleads guilty to <br />a crime or is found guilty after a trial. <br />Trial — a proceeding at which evidence is presented to a <br />judge orjury who then must decide beyond a reasonable <br />doubt whether the defendant committed the crimes. <br />Verdict — the formal decision or finding of guilty or not guilty <br />made by a judge or jury at the end of a trial. <br />Victim Impact Statement — input provided by the victim <br />about the impact of the crime. Used at sentencing or <br />hearings before the Paroling Authority. <br />This project was supported byAwardNo. 2007 -VA -GX -0045 by <br />the Office for Victims of Crime, OJP. <br />OFFICE OF THE PROSECUTING ATTORNEY <br />VICTIM <br />ASSISTANCE <br />RJ3A <br />East Hawaii Unit <br />655 Kilauea Avenue <br />Hilo, HI 96720 <br />Ph: 808 - 934 -3306 <br />Toll free:1- 800 - 901 -4021 <br />West Hawaii Unit <br />81 -980 Haleki`i Street <br />Suite 150 <br />Kealakekua, Hi 96750 <br />Ph: 808 - 322 -2552 <br />Toll free:1- 800 - 321 -8712 <br />Hawaii County is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer <br />