Legal Resources and Helpful Links

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Helpful Links

Legal Resources

This information is intended to familiarize you with the criminal court system in Iowa. If you have specific questions or special needs, call the office of your local County Attorney. Participation of citizens as witnesses in criminal prosecutions is essential in the fight against crime. Without the testimony of witnesses and victims, a prosecutor's case will fail. Your help is both necessary and appreciated.

Some Definitions

Defense

A defendant or accused person, the Defendant's attorney or their representative, such as an investigator.

Information or Indictment

A formal accusation charging a person with a serious crime.

Minutes of Evidence

A short summary of your expected testimony at a trial.

Prosecutor

Your local County Attorney or assistant who prosecutes criminal cases in the name of the State of Iowa in the District Court of your county. The prosecutor determines what charges if any should be filed.

Reparation

A payment from a State program to reimburse innocent victims for medical expenses, lost income and other losses resulting from violent crimes.

Restitution

A payment by a Defendant to the victim ordered by the Court as part of Defendant's sentence and based on Defendant ability to pay.

Sentencing

The responsibility of the Judge. The Judge decides what penalties to inflict on a guilty defendant. A prosecutor may only recommend penalties to the Judge.

Subpoena

An official Court Order commanding your appearance. It tells you where and when you must be present. Failure to do so can result in being found in contempt of Court and being liable for money damages. If you can't appear as directed, call your County Attorney immediately.

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