Glossary of Terms

Arraignment: The court hearing in which the defendant is formally charged with a crime and enters a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Bail: An amount of money which is sometimes imposed by the court to ensure the defendant´s appearance at future court hearings. A defendant held in custody is required to post bail in order to be released.   Bail can be posted either at court or at the House of Correction.

Continuance: A postponement of a case marked for trial or hearing to a later date.

Default: A defendant´s failure to appear at a required legal proceeding.

Defendant: A person formally charged with a crime.

Felony: A crime punishable by incarceration in the state prison for a period of years.

Grand Jury: A group of 23 people that hear evidence presented by a prosecutor to determine if a formal criminal charge (indictment) shall be issued in a case.

Misdemeanor: A crime punishable by a fine or incarceration in the House of Correction for a maximum of 2 1/2 years.

Pre-Trial Conference: The hearing in which the prosecutor and the defense report the status of the case to the court.

Probation: The defendant is placed under the supervision of a probation officer and is required to fulfill certain conditions set forth by the court for a specified period of time.

Restitution: In some cases, the Judge may order the defendant to pay the out-of-pocket expenses that you may have incurred as a result of the crime. Advocates are available to assist you in documenting your losses.

Sentencing Recommendations: When a defendant has pled guilty or has been found guilty after trial, the Judge will consider (but is not required to accept) the recommendations made by the prosecutor, defense attorney and the victim and/or family through Victim Impact Statements.

Subpoena/Summons: A Court Order which requires your appearance at court. Failure to appear under court order is considered as a Contempt of Court. It is imperative that you inform your advocate or prosecutor immediately if you cannot appear as ordered. Please be sure to keep your advocate informed of any changes in your address or telephone number.





Plymouth County District Attorney´s Office
32 Belmont Street
Brockton, MA 02301
508-584-8120