How to Calculate Pending Disposition

By Elizabeth (Lisa)Thompson
As you go through the court process, your lawyer will help you determine your pending disposition.

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During court, cases go through a certain procedure from start to finish until the final disposition. Case disposition refers to the final outcome or resolution of a case, whether civil, bankruptcy, family or criminal. In many cases, your attorney will advise you of where you are in the court process and what your responsibility is. Your case will go through specific steps in the court process, pending the final disposition of your case. For example, you can determine your pending disposition in a criminal case by looking at your progress as you go through court.

Guilty or No-Contest Plea

Obtain a lawyer. Discuss every aspect of your case with him. For a felony case, the court will appoint you a lawyer if you cannot afford one. While you do not have to follow his advice, he probably knows the legal system better than you do.

Appear before a commissioner or judge at the arraignment after your arrest, where you will enter your plea. This usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the jurisdiction. The commissioner will tell you your charges, the crimes alleged and decide if you will go free or remain in jail while you are waiting to be sentenced.

Enter a plea of "guilty" or "no contest" at your disposition in court. The court will then schedule a sentencing date for you.

Interview with a presentence writer who will write a report and submit it to the court. This report presents the judge with the relevant facts surrounding the case and helps him make a decision regarding sentencing.

Attend your sentencing date to receive the final disposition of your case. An example of a final disposition might be "no contest, three years probation, $1,200 fine, 30 days jail time, with credit for time served of 30 days jail." Another example might be, "guilty, sentenced to five years in the Department of Corrections with no credit for time served."

Not-Guilty Plea

Obtain a lawyer. Discuss every aspect of your case with him. For a felony case, the court will appoint you a lawyer if you cannot afford one. While you do not have to follow his advice, he probably knows the system better than you do.

Appear before a commissioner or judge at the arraignment after your arrest, where you will enter your plea. This usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the jurisdiction. The commissioner will tell you your charges, the crimes and decide if you will go free on bail or remain in jail while you are awaiting trial.

Enter a plea of "not guilty" at your arraignment.

Attend your jury trial and follow your lawyer's counsel through the process.

If you are found not guilty, you will be set free. If the jury finds you guilty, you will see a presentence officer who will write a report to assist the judge as he sentences you.

Attend your sentencing date to find out your final disposition from the judge as he sentences you.

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