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A pretrial discovery can be defined as "the formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence they’ll present at trial" and allows for the evidence of the trial to be presented to the parties before the initial trial begins.[7] The early stages of the lawsuit may involve initial disclosures of evidence by each party and discovery, which is the structured exchange of evidence and statements between the parties. Discovery is meant to eliminate surprises, clarify what the lawsuit is about, and also to make the parties decide if they should settle or drop frivolous claims and/or defenses. At this point the parties may also engage in pretrial motions to exclude or include particular legal or factual issues before trial.

Civil litigation is between two parties in which one party is claimed to have injured another, and it's the kind of litigation most businesses will be involved in. Criminal law is the government prosecuting a crime against society. In civil law, the burden of proof changes from "reasonable doubt" to "preponderance of evidence," which is less onerous on the plaintiff.
It is likewise important that the "plaintiff selects the proper venue with the proper jurisdiction to bring his lawsuit." The clerk of a court signs or stamps the court seal upon a summons or citation, which is then served by the plaintiff upon the defendant, together with a copy of the complaint. This service notifies the defendants that they are being sued and that they are limited in the amount of time of a reply. The service provides a copy of the complaint in order to notify the defendants of the nature of the claims. Once the defendants are served with the summons and complaint, they are subject to a time limit to file an answer stating their defenses to the plaintiff's claims, which includes any challenges to the court's jurisdiction, and any counterclaims they wish to assert against the plaintiff.
Also, at any time during this process from the filing of the complaint to the final judgment, the plaintiff may withdraw the complaint and end the whole matter, or the defendant may agree to a settlement. If the case settles, the parties might choose to enter into a stipulated judgment with the settlement agreement attached, or the plaintiff may simply file a voluntary dismissal, so that the settlement agreement is never entered into the court record.

If the facts in your case are questionable and there is significant risk for conviction at trial and the potential consequences are too high, an alternative to resolving your case by trial is to accept a plea agreement. It is important to have a criminal lawyer, whether hired or court appointed, helping you with your case, but this is especially true if you are considering a plea.
Are you facing a legal issue, or just looking for more information about a specific legal topic? FindLaw's Learn About the Law section is the perfect starting point. Learn About the Law features informational articles about a wide variety of legal topics, as well as specific information about subjects such as how to hire an attorney and understanding your state's unique laws.
Habeas Corpus submitted for Son over a year ago, through NLA.....After serving almost three years for a "victimless Crime", with Habeas Corpus being ignored. Son will be released on 12/14/16....My question is ........He has about $6,000.00 in fines and his Driver's License from a different State is being held for blackmail until bogus fines are paid.....HOW CAN HE GET RESTITUTION OR FREEDOM FROM PAYING THESE FINES?

If, upon review of your case information, the attorney determines that you have a very strong case and that State’s case may be weak, one option is to fight the case by going to trial. The decision to go to trial is always the client’s decision. Depending on the charge and the jurisdiction, this may mean a bench trial, meaning a single judge presides and makes a decision as to your guilt or innocence, or a jury trial, meaning a jury of usually 12 people decides guilt or innocence. A trial usually takes quite a bit of time to be scheduled – in North Carolina a felony trial may take as long as a year or more schedule and in others it may take two years or even more. This is based on the severity of the crime you’ve been charged with and how busy the court calendar is.


A lawsuit begins when a complaint or petition, known as a pleading,[6] is filed with the court. A complaint should explicitly state that one or more plaintiffs seek(s) damages or equitable relief from one or more stated defendants, and also should state the relevant factual allegations supporting the legal claims brought by the plaintiff(s). As the initial pleading, a complaint is the most important step in a civil case because a complaint sets the factual and legal foundation for the entirety of a case. While complaints and other pleadings may ordinarily be amended by a motion with the court, the complaint sets the framework for the entire case and the claims that will be asserted throughout the entire lawsuit.
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