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Victim Witness Unit
Public Safety Building
1100 W. Mallon
Spokane, WA 99260
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Legal Definitions

Bond

A monetary amount set by the court that a defendant can post in order to be released from custody.  A bond must be set in all criminal cases except for capital cases. The bond is usually based upon such factors as the defendant’s dangerousness to the community and flight risk.

Defendant

A person charged with breaking the law.

Defense Attorney

An attorney hired or appointed to represent the defendant and defend him/her against  criminal charges.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

The attorney appointed by the elected Prosecutor for the county to represent the State and handle the criminal charges against defendants.

Evidence

The testimony and physical items involved in the crime, presented by witnesses at the trial.

Information 

An official document filed with the court by the Prosecuting Attorney setting forth the crimes allegedly committed.

Own Recognizance (OR)

Releasing the defendant from custody without requiring any bond.

Plea Bargain

An agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor as to what charge the defendant will plead guilty and what sentencing recommendation the prosecutor will make to the court.  A plea bargain may be made without the victim’s consent.

Release Conditions

Requirements imposed by the court that the defendant must follow if he/she is released from custody. These conditions can include no contact with the victim and witnesses, geographical restrictions, drug testing, etc.

Subpoena 

A written order to be at the court proceedings at a certain date and time. Please remember to call the Deputy Prosecutor Attorney handling your case or the Victim/Witness Unit to confirm the specific time and date to appear.

Testify 

To tell the truth in the courtroom before the jury and/or judge.

Victim Impact Statement

A statement, usually in the form of a letter or spoken directly to the judge, from the victim or survivors concerning how this crime has affected the victim.  A copy of any letter will be given to defense prior to the sentencing hearing.  Download a VIS cover letter.

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