Some people assume that their trial will begin shortly after their arrest, but that’s not necessarily true. There are several steps in the criminal court process that occur between an arrest and the start of the trial, including the pretrial hearing. Here’s what to expect during this court hearing:
When Does the Pretrial Hearing Occur?
A pretrial hearing, which is often referred to as a pretrial conference, occurs after the arraignment and before the trial.
What is the Purpose of the Pretrial Hearing?
A number of major decisions will be made during the pretrial hearing, including whether or not certain pieces of evidence will be presented to the jury.
Prior to the hearing, both sides are required to exchange the evidence they plan to use with one another. This will give your defense attorney an opportunity to review the evidence and assess the strength of the state’s case against you. If your attorney believes some of the state’s evidence should not be permitted in court, he can file a motion to suppress the evidence. For example, your attorney could file a motion to suppress evidence that was gathered during an illegal search of your home. Filing these motions will weaken the prosecution’s case and ensure you receive a fair trial.
After reviewing the evidence, your attorney could come to the conclusion that the state has built a strong case against you. If the state has a strong case, it may be in your best interests to work towards a plea deal instead of taking the case to trial. Instead of looking for weak spots in the state’s case, your attorney will use the pretrial hearing to attempt to negotiate a plea deal. A plea deal can be offered at any point in the criminal court process, but these deals are often accepted during this stage.
Your attorney could also come to the conclusion that the state has a weak case against you. In this situation, it may be appropriate for your attorney to file a motion to dismiss your case.
What Happens Next?
The pretrial hearing is not over until the judge has ruled on all of the motions filed by both sides. If the defendant has not accepted a plea bargain yet, the case will proceed to trial at this point.
If you are facing criminal charges, it is in your best interests to seek legal representation prior to the pretrial hearing. The criminal defense attorneys at Reisch Law Firm will carefully analyze the state’s case and aggressively pursue the best possible outcome. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 303-291-0555 or filling out this online form.