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Definitions

The people that work in the legal system use a lot of terms that you may not be familiar with. It is important that you know what those terms mean.

Adjudication – In juvenile court, if you admit, plead “no contest” to a crime or are found guilty at a trial, you are adjudicated. In adult court, it is referred to as being convicted.

Affidavit - An affidavit is a sworn statement made to the court in writing. You will hear this word mentioned if you go to court for violating the rules. If your officer believes you violated the rules, an affidavit will be given to the court that explains the things you did that violated the rules.

Alco-sensor – This is also called a breathalyzer. An Alco-sensor is a device that measures the level of alcohol in your blood. The test is performed by blowing into a small plastic tube attached to the device.

Booking – If you are charged with a crime, your picture and fingerprints will be taken and kept on file. This is called being booked. Anybody under 18 years old is booked at DCYS.

Complaint – If you are accused of a crime, the District Attorney’s office prepares a document that says what crimes you are being accused of. This is called a complaint.

Count – If a complaint states that more than one crime has been committed, each crime listed in the complaint is called a count.

Disposition – If the court finds that you have violated your probation, you will receive a new sentence. This is referred to as disposition.

DNA Testing - Your DNA contains your genetic information; what makes you different from everyone else. If you are accused of certain crimes, you will be required to give a sample of your DNA. This generally happens when you are booked. Giving a sample of your DNA doesn’t hurt. The officer uses something that looks like a Q-tip and rubs in on the inside of your cheek. It is sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation where it is kept on file. If you are not adjudicated of a crime that requires you to give a DNA sample, the KBI is supposed to destroy the sample you gave.

Drug Screen – This is sometimes also referred to as urinalysis (UA). A sample of your urine is collected and tested to determine if there are illegal drugs in your system. When you give the urine sample, a staff person of the same gender must be present. Once you have given the urine sample, your JSO will test it while you observe. If the test shows that you are positive (you have drugs in your system), the urine sample will be packaged and sent to the lab for further testing. You will be asked to remain and observe until the sample has been packaged and sealed.

Expungement – A court order that removes your criminal history from public record. Your expunged records can still be considered by the court for sentencing if you commit another crime. A copy of the law regarding the expungement of juvenile records is included at the end of this manual. If you have any questions, speak with your attorney.

Hearing – A hearing is a court proceeding.

Known Offender – A known offender is any person who has been adjudicated or convicted of a crime within the past three years. You are not allowed to associate with anybody who is a known offender. This means that you may not communicate with them by phone, letter, on the internet, in person or any other way. Just passing someone in the hall at school would not be considered associating. If you are related to a known offender, discuss this with your JSO.

Plea – A plea is your response to the charges against you.

Sanction – In general terms, a sanction is a consequence for behavior. When the court orders a sanction, you could to spend up to 28 days in detention as a consequence for your behavior.

Subpoena – A subpoena is an order directing someone to appear in court to testify.

Summons – A summons an order directing someone to appear in court because charges have been filed against them.

Trial – A trial is a hearing to determine if you are guilty of committing a crime. The District Attorney calls witnesses to testify to prove you committed a crime. You have the right to question those witnesses. You also have the right to call witnesses who could testify for you. You do not have to testify for yourself unless you want to. There are two types of trials:

  • Bench Trial – In a bench trial, the judge hears all of the evidence and decides if you are guilty.
  • Jury Trial – In a jury trial a group of people hear all of the evidence and decide if you are guilty. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, the jury will have six people. If you are charged with a felony, there will be a jury of twelve. In order to find you guilty, ALL of the jurors must agree.

Violations – When you are placed on supervision, you will be expected to follow certain rules. Your JSO will go over those rules with you to make sure that you understand them. You and your parents will also be given a copy of the rules. If you break a rule it is referred to as a violation.

Warrant – A warrant is a document issued by the court giving permission or ordering a law enforcement officer to do something. For example, the police might have a search warrant allowing them to search a person’s property. An arrest warrant directs the police to take someone into custody.

Weapon – You are not allowed to have any kind of weapon in your possession at any time. A weapon is an object used to harm another person. Examples of weapons:

 

  • Guns and ammunition
  • Knives
  • Marshall arts weapons
  • Bombs or instructions about how to build a bomb

You are also not allowed to have a replica of a weapon. An example of a replica of a weapon would be a BB pistol that looks like a handgun.