Victims' Rights Glossary


Arizona Revised Statutes.

Proceeding held without defendant being present.

An offender who fails to report for probation, parole, or aftercare supervision and whose whereabouts are unknown.

Not the actual perpetrator of a felony, but one who was concerned with the commission of it.

One who having full knowledge that a felony has been committed; conceals it, harbors, assists, or protects the person sought for or convicted of the crime.

One who having being absent at the time a crime is committed; assists, counsels, cites, encourages, engages, or commands another to commit the crime.

One who fails to interfere or give such help as may be in his power to prevent the commission of a criminal offense.

A sentence passed before the first has expired to commence upon the expiration of the first.

A person or entity blamed for or accused of committing a crime.

A case for which a probation or parole service has been initiated and has not been terminated.

A classification for the differential supervision of probationers/parolees in which a minimum number of personal contacts and collateral contacts are required per month.

Finding a criminal defendant not guilty of the charge against him/her.

The ability to legally and properly introduce relevant evidence.

Any person who regularly use any habit-forming narcotic drug so as to endanger the public morals, health, safety, or welfare, or who is or has been addicted to the use of such habit-forming drugs as to have lost the power of self-control with reference to his addiction.

A state of utter dependence on a drug or drugs for a sense of physical and mental well-being. Addiction includes habituation.

The putting off or postponing a matter pending before the court until another specified time. Sometimes referred to as a continuance.

The act of giving a judicial ruling such as a judgment or decree.

The court act or process of trying and determining issues pending before it. The pronouncement of a judgment or decision.

A voluntary statement or declaration of facts, which has been written down or confirmed under oath. Affidavits can be administered by Judges and notary publics; or by anyone allowed under oath to do so.

Circumstances which heighten, intensify of worsen a crime the court must consider in sentencing a defendant, such as, the infliction of serious injury, use or threatened use of a deadly weapon, the value of property damaged, presence of an accomplice, etc.

A pre-sentence hearing to consider circumstances which may enhance or increase the degree of moral culpability or the term of sentence.

Defendant basically states, "I didn't do it, but I would probably be convicted if I went to trial."

An assertion, declaration, or statement made in a pleading by one of the parties to the action and detailing the matters which the party intends to prove.

A document filed by the State alleging that the defendant has been previously convicted of a crime.

Written response in a civil case; in it the defendant admits or denies allegations made by the plaintiff.

The process by which a defendant requests a higher court reviews his conviction.

The authority of a court to review the decisions of other courts and upholds, reverse, modify, or return them to a lower court for review.

A process for deciding a legal dispute out of court. In Maricopa County, all civil cases which seek a judgment of $50,000 or less must go to arbitration. Where arbitration produces a settlement, there is no need for litigants to incur the cost of trial.

Criminal proceeding in which the defendant, in open court, must answer criminal charges by entering a plea of guilty or not guilty. Defendant either must be represented by a lawyer or waive his/her right to legal counsel.

The process of taking a person accused of a crime into custody by a law enforcement officer.

Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing injury to another person, placing another person in apprehension of imminent physical injury, or knowingly touching another person with intent to injure, insult, or provoke. Assault becomes a felony if:

  • Causes serious physical injury.
  • Uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.
  • Enters someone's home with the intent to commit the assault.
  • If the victim is a peace officer, teacher, or an employee of a detention facility where the offender is incarcerated.
  • If the victim is bound or physically restrained or physically impaired.


Attorney whose name appears on the permanent records and files of a particular case. Initially, the attorney must file a Notice of Appearance with the Court.


Monetary sum assessed by a Judge to ensure a criminal defendant, who is being released prior to trial, will appear in court on the trial date. Securities posted are returned when court appearances are satisfied.

A person licensed by the State and certified by the Clerk of Superior Court, who provides bond or surety to the accused in custody.

A courtroom assistant to the Judge whose duty is to maintain order in the courtroom and oversees certain courtroom functions including files, jurors, witnesses, and attorneys.

A conference between a Judge and attorney regarding a courtroom proceeding, which is not necessarily part of the written court record.

Judge or Judges composing a court.

A document issued by a criminal court in which a criminal action is pending because of a defendant's failure to appear. Process issued by the court itself or "from the bench" for the attachment or arrest of a person.

Where the issues in a case are divided into two or more hearings or trials. The second hearing/trial does not necessarily use the same jury as the first. In criminal cases, insanity issues may prompt a bifurcated trial. Criminal DUI trials, where the defendant is alleged to have a prior conviction, are often bifurcated trials. In civil cases, you may see medical malpractice trials bifurcated when the liability phase of the trial is separated from the damages phase. And in Domestic Relations, child custody issues may prompt a bifurcated trial.

After probable cause has been found at a preliminary hearing, the defendant is "bound over" to Superior Court for trial.

A police administrative action officially recording an arrest and identifying the person, place, time, the arresting authority, and the reason for the arrest.

Written statement explaining facts of case and laws that apply.

Entering or remaining unlawfully in a structure or fenced yard with intent to commit any theft or felony. The crime is worse if the offender does this while possessing explosives, deadly weapon, or dangerous instrument.


The activities, contacts, programs, progress, and problems related to a client.

The total number of clients registered with a probation/parole department or officer at a specified point in time.

A case.

A writ issued by a court directing a lower court or other official body to send the records of a case so it may be reviewed.

Private office suite of the Judge and his/her staff. Proceedings held in chambers do not require a jury and are rarely open to the press, and only by permission of the Judge.

A hearing where the defendant enters a different plea.

The initial legal process where the prosecutor files court papers accusing a person of committing specific crimes by a criminal complaint or indictment.

Indirect evidence.

The first pleading in a civil case filed by the plaintiff. It alleges the material facts and legal theories to support the plaintiff's claim against the defendant.

The reduction of a sentence, as from death to life imprisonment.

A charging document in a lower court (City or Justice Court) which tells the defendant the nature of the charge against him or her and when and where it occurred.

A sentence in which two or more sentences are ordered to serve simultaneously. The defendant is entitled to discharge at the expiration of the longest term specified.

The release of an inmate to the custody of a third party contingent upon obeying specified rules of behavior.

A sentence in which a defendant convicted of two or more counts or charges, does not serve the second until the first is completed.

Officer primarily responsible for processing services and performing minor legal duties in Justice of the Peace Courts.

The postponement of a court event to a future day and time.

Finding by a Judge or jury that a person charged with a criminal offense is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of committing the crime charged.

A lawyer appearing on behalf of someone.

Slang for "plea bargain" in which an accused defendant in a criminal case agrees to plead guilty or "no contest" to a crime in return for a promise of a recommendation of leniency in sentencing to be made by the prosecutor to the Judge and/or an agreement by the prosecutor to drop some of the charges. Often the Judge agrees to the recommendation before the plea is entered (becomes final).

Authorized to perform limited judicial functions. Commissioners are frequently full time judicial officers appointed by the presiding Judge. In Superior Court, commissioners must have practiced law for 5 years or more.

A member of a Judge's staff in charge of keeping the court records and exhibits. The clerk generates a Minute Entry after each proceeding.

A provisional exit by a judicial authority from a prison facility system of a prisoner who has not served his or her full sentence. Freedom is conditional upon appeal and a special writ or other special legal proceeding.

A person who works with a Judge's staff to transcribe by shorthand or record stenographically the testimony during court proceedings. Note: transcripts are not automatic; they are generated when requested.

A written criminal charge, usually filed before a magistrate, that the defendant has committed a specified criminal offense.

Recklessly damages property of another in an amount of $250 or more.

Entering or remaining unlawfully on the property of another and burning, defacing, mutilating or otherwise desecrating a religious symbol or property. Class 6 felony if it is a residential structure.

Questions asked of a witness by the attorney for the party that did not call the witness to testify.

A sentence imposed for a crime in addition to a sentence imposed for another crime, not to be served at the same time.

A mental state that must be proven for certain types of crime and means any of the following:

  1. Intentionally-a person's objective is to cause a result or to engage in that conduct.
  2. Knowingly-a person is aware or believes his or her conduct is of that nature or the circumstances exist.
  3. Recklessly-a person is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk the result will occur.
  4. Criminal Negligence-a person fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk the result will occur.


A person who has no legal right, takes, entices, or keeps from lawful custody any child under 18 or imcompetent.


A sentencing enhancement of up to three times the number of years in prison for an offense if the defendant uses or exhibits a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, or intentionally or knowingly causes serious physical injury.

Monetary compensation claimed by a person who has suffered loss or injury to his/her person, property, or rights as a result of the negligence or unlawful conduct of another.

An order of the Court given in civil cases. A final decree is one that fully disposes of the litigation; an interlocutory decree is a preliminary order that often disposes of only part of a lawsuit.

In civil cases, the failure of the defendant to file an answer or appear within a certain amount of time. This will usually result in a default judgment against the defendant.

The person or entity charged with committing a crime.

An attorney employed by the defendant to represent the defendant's interests in criminal proceedings.

A re-trial, on appeal, from the start as if the previous trial never took place.

An interview of a witness set by court order and taken under oath and recorded by a court reporter.

A special hearing to determine if the identification procedures used in a photo lineup were legally proper.

The County Attorney files a criminal complaint directly to the Superior Court instead of utilizing a Justice of the Peace Court or Grand Jury. A Superior Court Judge then holds a probable cause hearing.

Questions asked by the attorney from a witness on the stand.

After the State has rested, the defense make a motion for a judgment of acquittal. If the Judge finds that no sufficient evidence exists, the Judge may grant the motion.

The process by which the prosecutor and defense attorney learn of the evidence the other will present at a trial.

See "with or without prejudice".

The final result of a criminal case. Also called a sentencing.

Before criminal charges are filed, the program provides an opportunity for a person to avoid a criminal record by participating in a program designed toward rehabilitation. These types of programs are reserved for lesser offenses and for those who do not have a prior record.

A second prosecution for the same offense cannot occur when the commencement after a previous conviction or acquittal already took place.

The regular course of administration through the courts of justice, under the protection of the law and the U.S. Constitution, enables every person to have a fair and impartial trial or hearing.


The date an inmate is released from prison if not previously released on supervised parole. Computed as time served in prison plus "good time" earned equals the sentence imposed. Good time is: One for Two time-one day of "good time" credit for every two days served without a serious disciplinary infraction. Reserved for inmates not serving sentences that are not flat time or for dangerous and/or repetitive offenses. One for Three-one day of "good time" credit for every three days served without a serious infraction. Reserved for inmates serving sentences for dangerous and/or repetitive offenses.

Recklessly endangering another person with substantial risk or imminent death.

Proof presented in court through the testimony of a witness, exhibits, records, objects or written documents to persuade the Judge or jury as to an alleged fact or position.

A hearing for the court to rule on a motion to suppress the use of evidence. The arresting officers or other witnesses may be required to testify to facts surrounding evidence.

A lawyer's statement, during the course of a trial that he disagrees with a ruling or action of the court. This is done by an objection. By "excepting", the lawyer saves the point as a ground for a possible appeal.

An article of tangible evidence introduced at trial.

A proceeding by or for one party only.

Circumstances that partly excuse a crime and therefore call for less punishment of damages.


A criminal charge which is punishable by imprisonment in the State Department of Corrections.

A sentence of imprisonment for a crime, which by statute requires the defendant to serve everyday without eligibility for parole, pardon, or commutation of sentence.

Based upon some good reason.


A person appointed by the court to look after the interests of a minor.

A group of 12 to 16 citizens who hear evidence presented by the prosecutor and determine if probable cause exists. Grand Jury hearings are in secret.

Group of 16 citizens drawn from Maricopa County to investigate in private criminal matters pertaining to Maricopa County when asked to do so by the County Attorney. There may be more than one County Grand Jury going at any time, each meeting twice a week. Evidence is presented by a prosecutor and witness (es). County Grand Juries typically hear cases involving drugs, murder, rape, burglaries, and assaults. County Grand Jury must decide by simple majority whether there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed the crime. County Grand Jury has the power to charge a crime by indictment; also may have the power to issue a report or presentment without charging a crime. A Grand Jury proceeding negates the need for a Preliminary Hearing.


A writ directed to an official who is detaining a person commanding him to produce that person before the court for the purpose of determining whether he is legally detained.

A sentence of imprisonment for a crime which by statute requires the defendant to serve 2/3 of his/her time before eligible for parole.

A statement a witness has heard another person say or write and offered as evidence without producing the author to testify as to the matters stated.

1st or 2nd degree murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. 1st-intending or knowing conduct will cause death or another with premeditation or causing the death of another while committing certain felony crimes. 2nd-without premeditation intentionally causing death of another or manifesting extreme indifference to human life causes death. Manslaughter-recklessly causing death, sudden quarrel or heat of passion, intentionally aiding in suicide, causing death of an unborn child by injury to mother which would have been murder if mother had died. Negligent-with criminal negligence a person causes the death of another.

A witness who can be cross-examined by the party calling him because of his antagonism to that party.

Probationer is closely monitored electronically in his residence. The probationer's activities are extremely limited.


The act of making up a list of jurors who have been selected for the trial of a particular case.

An attack on the credibility of a witness by the testimony of other witnesses, other evidence, or previous statements of the witness.

A Latin term meaning "in chambers." Traditionally, the term meant a proceeding closed to the public.

A sentence of indefinite duration; the exact time to be served being determined within the limits of the law, by parole authorities depending largely on the defendant's record.

The formal written accusation of a crime.

A formal written accusation filed by a public officer, such as a prosecuting attorney, charging a person or business with a specific crime.

First appearance in court by defendant in a criminal case. Under federal case law, an arrested person must appear before a judicial officer within 24 hours and be advised of the charges and the suspect's rights.

Court order directing a person to refrain from having contact with the person who filed the order. Injunction Against Harassment can only be ordered for person's not related, not lived together, or share a child together. For instance, a co-worker, acquaintance, friend, etc.

Engaging in disorderly, disrespectful or insolent behavior in court or disobeying a court order or (felonies-)tampering with a witness, influencing a juror, misconduct by a juror, tampering with evidence, and disobeying an order of protection(misdemeanor).

Interference with Judicial Proceedings

Requires all prospective witnesses be excluded from the courtroom during testimony and to not discuss the case with each other. This does not apply to Victims. Victims have the right to stay in the courtroom during all testimony.


Arizona is one of the few states that allow an attorney to be appointed a Judge with full powers for the length of a case or series of proceedings. In Maricopa County, pro tem Judges are employed to keep backlogs down and cover for vacation schedules.

The legal authority of the court to hear and decide cases; the locality over which a court can exercise judicial power and authority to render a judgment in a case.

A court in a precinct in the county that hears misdemeanor or juvenile case occurring in that county. Justice of the Peace will also hear cases at preliminary hearings for felony and civil cases when the amount is less than $10,000.00.


Knowingly restraining another person with intent to:

  • Hold for ransom, hostage, or as a shield.
  • Hold for involuntary servitude.
  • Inflict death, physical injury, or a sexual offense.
  • Place the victim in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury.
  • Interfere with the performance of a governmental or political function.
  • Seize or control airplane, train, bus, etc.



No terms listed for "L"


Often used to refer to a Municipal Court Judge, but A.R.S. § 1-215 provides a broad definition that includes all those judicial officers having power to issue a warrant for arrest, i.e. a Supreme Court justice, Superior Court Judges, justice of the peace courts, and municipal courts.

A writ issued by a court to some official commanding him to perform some official duty.

A judicial command or precept from a court or judicial officer directing the proper officer to enforce a judgment, sentence, or decree.

Usually a one or two page summary about what happened during a court proceeding. It includes everyone who appeared in court, names of witnesses who testified, what kind of proceeding took place, when the next court date is, and any orders the court issued. In Maricopa County, the courtroom clerk generates the minute entry.

A classification for offenses which are less serious than felonies; a misdemeanor is punishable by a fine or incarceration in the county jail.

A trial ends when a rule of criminal procedure was violated or if the jury can not reach a unanimous decision.

Circumstances which may mitigate a sentence the court must consider, such as, the age of the defendant, the defendant's capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of the crime, unusual dress, the degree of the defendant's participation, any prior convictions, etc.

A written or oral request by the prosecutor or defense attorney for the Judge to take a specific action, rule, or order.

A pretrial motion where a party requests a ruling from the court that prohibits the opposing party from raising a particular, highly prejudicial issue at trial. A request for a protective order against pre-judicial questions and/or statements during trial.


Failure to exercise that degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same circumstances.

Grand jury finds no probable cause to charge the accused.


A court order to prevent a defendant from contacting the person who got the order. A family member, former spouse or roommate, or if the parties share a child together can get an Order of Protection. If a divorce is pending, the plaintiff must obtain the order in Superior Court.

An order to appear before the court and present reasons and considerations why the previous order of the court shall be confirmed, enforced, or executed.

The release from custody without requiring any bond or other security. Some release conditions such as not returning to the scene of the crime or initiate victim contact are required.


The release from prison after serving the imposed sentence. It is a conditional release from prison granted by the Board of Executive Clemency. The offender will be under the supervision of a parole officer. Parole can be revoked if the offender fails to observe the conditions of Mandatea parole order.

A jury, usually of 12, impaneled to hear a civil or criminal proceeding in court.

Written application made to court asking for legal intervention.

In a civil action, the plaintiff is the one who files the lawsuit. In a criminal case, the State is the plaintiff.

Response of a defendant to criminal charges. Note: When writing copy, you would be in error to say, "John Doe pled innocent today." The plea is guilty or not guilty.

Written documents stating the allegations and claims of the opposing parties in a legal dispute.

Court preceding that determines if there is probable cause to hold the defendant for trial. Acts like a Grand Jury, but preliminary hearings are not held in secret. In Maricopa County, preliminary hearings usually take place in justice (JP) court in the precinct where the crime occurred.

A hearing held prior to sentencing.

A report prepared for a Judge by a pre-sentence investigator. The report will include a defendant's criminal history, synopsis of the crime, social history of the defendant, statements from the victim or other interested parties, and a recommendation and a reason for the recommendation for sentencing.

Set automatically prior to a trial after the defendant pleads 'not guilty' to the charge. Pleas can be considered at this time.

Investigates the employment and ties to the community of a defendant. Can require drug testing and other monitoring.

The amount of proof needed to determine if a crime occurred.

A conditional suspension of an imposed sentence. If completed successfully, sentence is not imposed, but if it is revoked, the sentence is imposed. Probation is subject to supervision from a probation officer and terms. It is a substitute for a prison term, which is contingent upon good behavior. Probation can include jail time, treatment, restitution, and/or other special terms & conditions.

A person who represents himself in court.


To vacate or nullify an order of the Court; for example, to cancel an arrest warrant or Order of Protection.


The amount of proof necessary for the State to prove guilt.

Evidence or argument designed to defeat or take away the effect of the opponent's evidence or argument.

Follows cross-examination and is exercised by the party who first examined the witness at a court proceeding.

To send back. For example, the Court of Appeals may remand a case to Superior Court for retrial or other action.

The amount of money a Judge orders a defendant to pay to the victim as a condition of the sentence. It is an act of restoring anything to its rightful owner. It is giving or making well on an equivalent to any loss, damage, or injury suffered by the victim.

The time set where the court informs the probationer of each alleged probation violation. The probationer either admits or denies each allegation.

A psychiatric evaluation to determine if the defendant is competent to stand trial.


A bond secured by a deposit of security equal to the full amount of the bond.

An order by the Judge specifying the punishment the defendant will receive. Also called disposition.

  1. Indecent Exposure - Exposing genitals, anus, or breast. To a person under 15 is a felony.
  2. Public Sexual Indecency - Engaging in sexual contact or intercourse in public. When a person under 15 is present is a felony.
  3. Sexual abuse -Sexual contact with a person over 15 without their consent or with a person under 15 if the sexual contact involves only the female breast.
  4. Sexual conduct with a minor - Knowingly or intentionally engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with anyone under 18.
  5. Sexual Assault - Engaging in sexual intercourse or oral sexual contact with a person without their consent.
  6. Molestation of a child - Directly or indirectly touching the private parts of a child under 15 or causing a child under 15 to touch the offender's private parts.


A sentence to imprisonment for a crime which by statute the defendant is eligible for parole after serving ½ of the time imposed. Also called 'one for two time'.

State presents its case by calling witnesses and presenting evidence at trial. The state has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A law enacted by a legislature.

A temporary stop or delay in a judicial proceeding.

A writ requiring appearance in court to give testimony.

A writ issued by a court at the request of one of the parties to a suit; it requires a witness to bring any relevant documents under the witness's control.

Legal document issued by the court to notify defendant a complaint has been filed and he/she is required to appear and answer the complaint on or before the time and date specified. A summons is a notice to appear for a defendant who does not need to be arrested.

A direct complaint has been filed, requested by the County Attorney and by the Grand Jury. If granted, the defendant bypasses the Preliminary Hearing and goes to an arraignment.

Someone other than the person released who executes an appearance bond and binds himself to pay the amount if the released person doesn't comply. The surety must show property ownership worth the amount of the bond.


reatment Assessment Screening Center. Diversion program that monitors and offers treatment for drug and alcohol abuse problems.

An order to do or not do something until a more complete hearing is held, usually within 10 days, with both parties present. At that time, a preliminary injunction may be granted until there is a hearing for a permanent injunction.

Evidence given in court orally by a witness.

Offender controls, converts to, or obtains another's property with the intent to deprive victim of that property when the property or service is valued at $250 or more. Includes Unlawful use of transportation, theft of means of transportation, extortion, shoplifting ($100 or more), and unlawful failure to return rental property if valued at $100 or more.

Refers to the right of the accused to be tried within 150 days of arrest or summons. Some exclusions apply.

Credit given for the number of days in custody pending case disposition and credited towards final sentence.

The number of days between court proceedings is not deducted from statutory time limit for a case to be tried.

Defendant is sentenced to at least one year in prison, will not be eligible for release to parole until their entire period of incarceration is completed.

A court proceeding where testimony and evidence is presented to a Judge and a jury to determine if the defendant is guilty of committing the crime charged with.

The majority vote of a Grand Jury when probable cause is found of a crime committed.


Knowingly restraining another person.


A legal order that allows a law enforcement agency to arrest the person named in the order.

A case that cannot be reopened or re-filed. Also called dismissal with prejudice.

A case that can be reopened or re-filed at a later date.

A person, who testifies to what he/she has seen, heard, observed, or otherwise knows

Defendant is released from jail to go to work as specified by a schedule and is monitored by a Probation Officer. The defendant will have various conditions of the furlough program to comply with.

Defendant is released from jail to go to work usually between the hours of 6 AM-6 PM and is not monitored by a Probation Officer.

An order from a court commanding a certain thing to be done.


No terms listed for "X", "Y" or "Z"

Brandelyn Jackson

Chief of Pre-Disposition & Administrative Services
Contact Adult Probation

  This page was last updated on: