FAQ Topic: VWAP Terminology

Plea Agreement

Accepting a plea agreement means to settle a case without a trial.


Victims and witnesses may be required to testify at a trial. A trial may either be a Jury Trial or a Bench Trial, which is heard by a judge, not a jury.

Change of Plea/Sentencing Hearing

In felony cases, this hearing is scheduled when the defendant decides to change his/her plea to guilty. At this hearing, a victim has the right to submit a Victim Impact Statement. These statements are important for the Judge to recognize all of the ways the crime has affected the victim.

Initial Appearance

This hearing occurs in misdemeanor cases only. At this hearing, the defendant will plead guilty or not guilty. If the defendant pleads not guilty, the court will schedule a Pretrial Conference. If a guilty plea is entered, the Judge will immediately sentence the defendant .

Preliminary Hearing

This hearing occurs in felony cases only. Testimony is heard by the Judge. The prosecuting attorney must establish probable cause that a crime has been committed by the defendant.

Bond Hearing

This is the first time the defendant appears in front of the Judge. The Judge will set a bail amount and full conditions of bond, typically including a no contact with a victim.

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