Going to court can be overwhelming in and of itself. But it can often times feel like the Courts are speaking another language. You will hear a lot of acronyms, legal terms, and dates being thrown around. This is when most people realize they need an attorney to help translate all of the courts language for them.
The attorneys at Maher & Maher Law are expertly familiar with criminal procedure and with the “court’s language” in El Paso, Pueblo and Fremont counties. They can guide you quickly and easily through the process. Give them a call today for a full consultation and explanation of the charges you face and what the next few court dates will look like for you specifically. But in the meantime, here is a little sample of some of the court dates you may have if you have recently been charged with a crime in Colorado.
FAPP – this stands for first appearance. This will be your first appearance before the judge who will be handling your case to the end. You may have seen another Judge or Magistrate before on your case but it is likely that person was just addressing bond, a protection order or some other ancillary issue on your case. The first appearance judge will be the one who will preside over your trial or your sentencing. At your first appearance, the District Attorney will also provide you with the formal charges. They may be the same or different from the charges you were arrested on or received a summons for. But the charges you are given at the first appearance are very important because they are the crimes you will have to defend against in this case.
PTC – this stands for Pre-Trial Conference. This is “check in” that judges require to make sure that progress is being made on the case. Typically, a judge will allow the parties to have two pre-trial conferences before they will require a plea – either guilty plea or not guilty. The time between these pre-trial conferences is when your attorney will be reviewing all of the discovery (police reports, videos, evidence) in your case and negotiating with the District Attorney on the plea offer. This is an important time when your attorney should be very engaged to try to get the best possible plea offer on your case so then you can make an informed decision about whether you would like to accept the D.A’s plea offer or reject it and set the case for trial.
PTRD – stands for Pre-Trial Readiness. This court date comes after you have set your case for trial and typically a week or so prior to your trial date. This is a date where the judge checks to make sure all parties are ready to go to trial on the scheduled date. In particular, at these court dates judges are inquiring if both parties have all of their evidence in order and their witnesses scheduled to appear for the upcoming trial. There are often times many trials set to start on the same day so it is at this hearing that the judge will decide which cases will go forward to the scheduled trial date and which cases will need to be continued or rescheduled to another trial date.
JT – stands for Jury Trial. This is literally your day in court where the jury will be picked, the evidence presented and ultimately a verdict reached on your case. The average misdemeanor trial takes 1-2 days and the average felony trial (of course depending on the complexity of the case and charges) takes 3-5 days for a full trial. Jury trials are open to the public and anyone can attend however there are now so new restrictions on that policy due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As you can see, these terms can be confusing and frustrating for people who do not go to court on a regular basis. The attorneys at Maher & Maher Law will speak this court’s language fluently on your behalf and will also make sure you clearly understand not only what each court date is but what is expected of all of the parties in the case as well. Call us today at 719-301-7500 for a free one-hour consultation on your case.