Page 27 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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22
How long will it be until the case
ends?
A case can be dismissed or nolled at
anytime; this would end the case.
Otherwise the case could take
several months or even longer.
Will there be a trial?
If the case is not nolled or
dismissed, and your partner does
not agree to plead guilty, then there
will be a trial to see if he is guilty.
Trials happen very infrequently
because usually the defendant
pleads guilty to the crime charged,
or to a lesser charge, if the case
hasn't been dismissed or nolled.
What happens at a trial?
Trials can be in front of a judge or a
jury. The prosecutor will present
evidence to try to show that your
partner is guilty, and then your
partner's lawyer can present
evidence to try to show that the
defendant is innocent. The judge or
jury will then decide his guilt or
innocence.
If there is going to be a trial, ask the
Family Violence Victim Advocate
and the prosecutor to explain to you
what will happen at the trial.
How involved do I have to be in
the trial?
If the case involves an assault
against you, or anything you saw or
experienced, then you will probably
have to testify as a witness for the
prosecutor. It is unlikely that you
would be required to attend any
other part of the trial.
What happens if the case is
thrown out?
If the case is dismissed or nolled,
or the defendant is found "not
guilty" after a trial, then the
protective order would end and
any bond would be returned.
Nolled cases remain on file for
thirteen months, and can be
started again during that time if
there is another offense
(although
they rarely are). A protective
order ends when the case is
thrown out.
If he pleads guilty or is found
guilty what happens?
After someone pleads guilty or is
found guilty after a trial, the judge
will set a sentencing date.
However, sentencing
in a
misdemeanor case usually occurs
immediately after the plea. The
prosecutor and your partner’s
lawyer will each have a chance to
tell the judge what he or she
thinks should happen. You, as
the victim, will also be allowed to
make a statement to the judge at
sentencing, especially if you tell
the prosecutor you want a chance
to make a statement.
What will his sentence be?
There are a variety of things a
judge can include in your
partner’s sentence. If he is placed
on probation he could be ordered
to obey certain conditions and
required to report periodically to a
probation officer. A judge may
also order that the protective
order remain in effect during the
period of probation. Your partner