Few things are more stressful than facing criminal charges. After all, not only do you have the potential of losing your freedom, but you are also likely to encounter terminology that is completely foreign to you. One such concept, the stet docket, often confuses criminal defendants.
In the United States, you have a right to a fair criminal prosecution. If you do not comprehend the system, the process may not be fair. An experienced attorney can likely explain obscure terminology to you. Nonetheless, before you walk into a courtroom for a DUI matter or another type of case, you should know about the stet docket.
A period of inactivity
Sometimes, court cases cannot proceed immediately. If a judge places a matter on a stet docket, it becomes inactive for a bit of time. Usually, stet docket cases stall for between six months and a year. Why a case may need to be inactive varies from situation to situation. For example, you may need to complete a rehabilitation program or perform community service. If you successfully fulfill your obligations, prosecutors may dismiss charges without forcing a trial.
No set court date
If you are facing charges, you must be certain never to miss a court date. With matters on the stet docket, though, there typically is no future court date on the calendar. Said differently, there usually is no summons to appear at a later date. Instead, the judge effectively postpones your matter indefinitely.
The re-docket procedure
Occasionally, prosecutors or defendants need to re-docket a matter. To do so, a party files a motion to reopen the case. Either side can perform this function during the first year a case is on the stet docket. During the second or subsequent years, the moving party must show good cause to reopen the case.
The stet docket is only one confusing concept that you are apt to encounter during a criminal case. Still, by understanding what it means, you can better plan for asserting your legal rights, defending yourself and taking other appropriate steps.