Monday, October 10, 2011

Terms to know for Traffic Court in Kansas

Often times when I go to Traffic Court people (Pro Se defendants) will come up to me and ask me what this means or what that means, or if they are going to jail of not.  This blog post is dedicated to those people.  It's a list of terms that most people don't understand.

Moving Violation - This is an offense that will get reported to the Kansas Department of Revenue and will impact your license and insurance negatively.  Example:  Speeding, Following to Close, Running a Red light

Non-Moving Violation- This is an offense that will not usually get reported to the Kansas Department of Revenue and will not impact your license.  Example: Illegal Parking

Prosecutor:  This is the attorney for a city, he/she is responsible for prosecuting offenses in the city court

District Attorney:  This is the attorney for the county and he/she represents the state.  The District Attorney prosecutes all offenses brought in the district court.

County Attorney:  See District Attorney

Infraction:  It’s the lowest level of offense.  Examples: Jaywalking

Misdemeanor:  This is the lowest level of criminal offense.  Kansas has classes of misdemeanors based on severity.  You can not get more that one year in jail for a misdemeanors Examples: driving on suspended license first offense is a class B misdemeanor, a driving on suspended license second offense is a class A misdemeanor.

Diversion Agreement:  This is an agreement between you and the state where you agree to certain conditions in exchange for the state not prosecuting you on a charge.

Ignition interlock device:  This is a device that is put into the car.  It keeps a car from operating unless the driver blows into it with no alcohol in his blood.

Amendment:  When the prosecutor changes the charges that someone is facing

Pro Se:  This is a term used to describe someone without an attorney representing them

Ex Parte:  This is a term you might here when someone is talking to the judge without the other party present.  This is generally not allowed.

Continuance :  This is a request for extra time.  If you need more time to make a payment on a case you ask for a continuance.

Nunc Pro Tunc:  This literally means "this for that."  You might hear this when someone is correcting a past order or mistake.

Motion:  When someone is asking the court to do something

Order:  When the court is telling someone to do something.

Plea:  When a defendant is making a statement about his/her charges as to his guilt.

Plea Offer:  A recommendation by the prosecutor of a punishment conveyed to the judge if a defendant will make a specific plea.

Verdict:  The decision made by the trier of facts (usually the judge in traffic court)

Sentence:  The decision made by the judge as to punishment based on the outcome of the verdict.

Suspended Sentence:  This is a term used when the Judge is giving someone jail time but not making them actually go to jail.

Underlying Sentence:  This is the term used when the judge is giving someone jail time but not making them actually go to jail if they meet certain conditions.  Example: pay fines, attend a class

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