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Explanations and Definitions for Arrested Scam Victims: Terms & phrases used by law enforcement and criminal defense attorneys.The information on the pages in this section will help you understand what is happening with your case, what to expect, different phrases you will hear, and more.

While not a complete run-down of the entire Justice System, after reading this section you will have a much better understanding of what is happening to you now, and what will happen to you as you go along.


Important notice for arrested fraud victims and their attorneys:

Terms and processes are not the same in all countries.  The Explanations & Definitions are generic to the US, Canada, and countries whose Justice System is based in whole or in part on British Law.  Specifics differ from state to state to territory, Province to Province, and country to country.

Please review this section with your Criminal Defense Attorney / Public Defender so that he or she can clarify any questions you may have and explain what differences, if any, exist between the Explanations & Definitions in this section and those local to you.


Deferred sentencing: This means that instead of any conviction or trial the person is sent directly into probation.  The person must follow the conditions of probation ordered by the court for anywhere from 6 months to a year or occasionally 2 years, and must report to a Probation Officer on a regular basis during the probation period.


The appointments may be once a month, every 6 weeks, every other month, or a regular telephone call to the Probation Officer.  Any violation can result in arrest and a reversal of the Prosecution's position in its leniency.


Think of this as a period during which you must prove your good behavior.  The consequence of violating the conditions of your probation is to start all over again with a Defense Attorney in preparation for trial.


The consequence of good behavior throughout the period of probation is often the dismissal of your case.


Discovery: Discovery is an exchange of information between your attorney and the Prosecuting Attorney.  This is when each party shows the other what they have, and nothing is supposed to be withheld.  Not that the withholding of information doesn't occur, it's just not supposed to.

Your attorney's request for Discovery should be as broad as possible, encompassing every aspect of the Prosecution's notes and reports from law enforcement officers and witnesses and any other possible source.

Your attorney is supposed to show the Prosecution everything you and Fraud Aid have provided him, and this is one of the times when a discussion of dismissal may arise.


Expunging your arrest record: See Removing the arrest from your record.


Forgery: Arrested fraud victims will often find that they have been accused of forgery when they know they have not forged any document, check, or money order at all.  Law enforcement has only just so many statutes to work with; often, one statute covers multiple offenses and forgery is one of these.  Presenting a forged document frequently falls under the statute that includes forgery offenses.


"Innocent until proven guilty": Legally you are innocent until proven guilty only in the courtroom.  Until you appear in a court of law, law enforcement will consider you guilty until proven innocent.  That is a fact of life and In most instances this attitude is necessary for law enforcement to carry out its duties effectively.


Indictment: This is a very important document.  It will arrive by surface mail so make sure the court has your correct mailing address.


The indictment tells you the name of the court in which you are to appear and the list of charges being brought against you.  You will find out what to do with the indictment in the Instructions.


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We are not attorneys and don't pretend to be.  In our experience, the information and guidance offered on this site have proven to be effective; however, we always recommend that you consult with an attorney.

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