What Happens at a Pretrial Hearing? If you have never been involved in a criminal case before, being told that there is a pretrial hearing can cause a great amount of uneasiness. It is best to learn in advance what the pretrial hearing process involves so that you will feel more prepared. Fortunately, our criminal defense lawyers have helped numerous people and we can make sure that you navigate your pretrial hearing without facing any additional obstacles.
A pretrial hearing exists for many reasons. They are used to hold discussions about evidence, to hear a judge’s comments about a case, to engage in plea bargaining, and for a number of other purposes. Attorneys often request additional evidence at a pretrial hearing that was not provided during the arraignment.
A discussion between the prosecution and defense lawyers regarding the strengths and weaknesses of both sides in your case frequently happens at a pretrial hearing. As mentioned, in many situations, the lawyers will attempt to negotiate a plea agreement.
To create an aggressive defense, a defense attorney sometimes makes pretrial motions to suppress evidence or motions to avoid the admissibility of evidence at trial that can be prejudicial toward the defendant. The prosecutor might sometimes seek a plea agreement to avoid trial. If a case involves a felony offense, the plea agreement will be formally entered in court.
In many situations after a sentence is proposed, the case will be referred to a probation department so a pre-sentencing examination can occur and a sentencing hearing can be scheduled. If your case involves a misdemeanor offense and a plea agreement is reached, the judge will sentence the defendant immediately after a guilty plea. If a plea agreement can not be reached, your case will proceed to trial. In both situations, many people find it helpful to obtain the assistance of a skilled criminal defense attorney who can make sure that their cases resolve in the best possible manner.
Even if a pretrial hearing is scheduled, this does not automatically mean that a case will proceed to trial. In many cases, a pretrial hearing will be scheduled during arraignment, but no trial date will be set until later.
Many judges will not object if the prosecution or defense requests an additional pretrial hearing. In situations in which the judge believes that one side is merely requesting additional pretrial hearings as a way to delay matters, a judge might decline to grant a subsequent pretrial hearing.
No matter what part of the criminal law process you are involved in right now, reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney who is not afraid to fight for your rights during your pretrial hearing. Contact Kruger & Hodges today to schedule an initial free consultation, during which time we will learn more about your case and guide you through your legal options.