YOU'VE BEEN SERVED
Watkins Law Firm
How to understand your court case
After you are served with legal papers, a plaintiff will create a case against you in a court of law, making you the defendant. The reason you are being served is because someone has filed a complaint against you, or an acquisition of a criminal charge. You will soon be mandated by a summons to attend court. The court will record everything that happens in the court case, which is referred to as a pleading. You must be very cautious of what you say because it is in your permanent records. If the opposing parties cannot agree before the trial, then a pretrial conference will be held. The two parties will meet with a judge and a decision will be made before the court proceeds. A mediation must happen, which is an agreeable settlement between the two parties. If you want to avoid a court trial, an arbitration trial may be used to avoid going to court. If this is the case, a panel of people, not judges, rule over the case. In a civil case, a preponderance of evidence, which is when evidence is given a greater significance in the decision to decide the outcome of the case, may be used. The final part is the verdict of the case. This is the final decision that determines whether you are "guilty" or "not guilty". If a person does not feel that the verdict is correct or appropriate, they can appeal to the appeals court.