Many people who have no personal experiences with the judicial system are ill-equipped to follow along with the terminology used. Not being familiar with legal jargon can add a whole new layer of stress while you post a bail bond to get out of jail, appear at court hearings, and go through other legal proceedings. In this article we aim to explain five common legal terms you should know so that you can be confident while working within the United States judicial system.
Arraignment is typically the first time a defendant appears in court. At an arraignment hearing there is a formal reading of the criminal charges that are being brought against the defendant. The arraignment process informs the defendant of the charges against them and in response they are expected to enter a plea. This is where the accused makes a statement of “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest.”
The criminal defense attorney assigned to the case will explain the process, rights of the defendant, and what can be expected. Be sure to seek professional legal counsel. After the arraignment, the next court appearance the defendant will be expected to attend will be the pretrial or, in the case of an accused felony, a preliminary hearing.
The dictionary defines reinstatement as 1) “the action of giving someone back a position they have lost” or 2) “the restoration of something such as a law or custom.” Reinstatement as it relates to the court system refers to a legal process where the defendant who has missed their court date (intentionally or through unavoidable circumstances) is put back onto the calendar and the individual can proceed with their court hearings.
The court will work with the defendant and their bailbondsman to set new court dates. When someone is reinstated with the court it is a second chance that should not be taken lightly. There are likely to be additional fees for the defendant and/or their bail bond co-signer. DO NOT miss these new court appearances or you are very likely to encounter the unfortunate bail forfeiture, if that is not already the case.
3. Bench Warrant
“Bench Warrant” is one term that you may have heard on television shows but may not have a full understanding of what it means. We are happy to explain! If a defendant violates the rules of the court a judge may issue a warrant, which is referred to as a bench warrant. Typically this happens if a defendant misses a scheduled court appearance.
If someone is found by police officers and they have a bench warrant in their name, they will be arrested and more than likely they will be held in jail until their next court date. In this case the defendant loses their ability to post a bail bond and get out of jail pre-trial because they have already shown to be a flight risk.
4. Summary Judgment
Sometimes referred to as a Summary Disposition, a Summary Judgment can happen in lawsuit cases after all the facts are known to all parties involved. If the judge is asked by either party of the lawsuit, the judge will review the case information and may decide that it is impossible for either party to win the case. This can happen when there is insufficient evidence.
If a summary judgment is granted, the case is thrown out. There will be no going before a jury, the lawsuit ends there. This is either good news or bad news depending on if you are the plaintiff or defendant.
We hope that exoneration is one legal term that you will hear in your circumstance. When someone is exonerated by the court they are released from the obligation of showing up for court appearances and, more importantly, they have been absolved of blame for wrongful doing. This term is also used if a conviction of a crime is reversed. As soon as you hear this term for you or your loved one, this should bring a huge smile to your face!
Questions about Posting a Bail Bond
At Frank Calabretta’s Bail House we work hard to help people post bail and get out of jail fast. We also aim to educate our community members about legal proceedings especially as it relates to posting bail. Our licensed, trusted, and experienced bailbondsmen are happy to answer any questions you may have about how to bail someone out of jail – whether the defendant is yourself, a friend in our local northern California area, or a loved one in another state.
Give us a call at (916) 782-7048 for questions about posting a bail bond at any time, day or night! Our compassionate team is here to help by offering no hassle bail bonds – fast – and by providing some general insight for your experience in the judicial system. Be sure to always speak with an experienced lawyer about your specific case. In the meantime, we hope you are more confident while handling legal proceedings now that you have a better understanding of these common legal terms.