What is a pretrial hearing in California?
A pretrial hearing is a meeting between the parties to discuss how a case will proceed and to resolve any preliminary issues before a trial starts. Pretrial hearings involve the prosecution, defense, and judge. They are not heard before a jury.
Pretrial hearings aim to narrow the issues in a case and help the trial run smoothly. They also often lead to the early resolution of a charge so it doesn't need to go to trial.
At a pretrial hearing, the parties may:
- Request timeframes for filing documents, subsequent pretrial hearings, and the trial itself
- Challenge the admissibility of certain evidence, for example, an illegal search or other unlawfully obtained evidence
- Update the court on trial preparation
- File a motion for discovery, for example, obtaining evidence for testing
- Negotiate a plea deal
- Agree on undisputed facts to narrow the issues for trial
- Discuss witness availability issues
Pretrial hearings are also sometimes referred to as pretrial conferences or status conferences. Navigating the criminal justice system on your own is never a good idea. You need a defense attorney who knows the system and can provide solid, legal advice. Call Law Offices of Vivian N. Szawarc today at 888-666-8820 or fill out an online form today.
When are criminal pretrial hearings held in California?
In criminal cases, pretrial hearings are held after the defendant's arraignment (initial appearance) and before the preliminary hearing and jury trial.
Do Los Angeles defendants need to attend a pretrial hearing?
The court will advise a defendant whether they need to attend a specific pretrial hearing.
If the defendant fails to appear as required, the court can impose sanctions on them, including further criminal charges. The court can also issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest.
Why does a pretrial hearing matter?
Pretrial hearings are critical to the outcome of a criminal matter. When used strategically, they may resolve the need to go to trial altogether.
For example, a pretrial hearing may reveal the strengths or weaknesses of a case which leads to the prosecution withdrawing the charges, the defendant deciding to plead guilty to the charges, or the parties agreeing to a plea deal.
For a defendant, a pretrial hearing is an important mechanism to assert and protect their constitutional rights. It also helps prepare their defense. For these reasons, it's a good idea to consult a criminal defense attorney about any pretrial hearings that may be needed in your matter.
Do you need a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles for the pretrial hearing?
Yes, it's in your best interests to have an experienced criminal defense attorney represent you at a pretrial hearing. Pretrial hearings are an important part of a defense strategy and an experienced criminal defense attorney can use them to your advantage.
These hearings often involve complex legal issues that can significantly impact the outcome of your case. For this reason, it's crucial to find a defense attorney who is well-versed in criminal law to argue your case on your behalf. That's why you should call us at 888-666-8820 or fill out an online form today.
The effective use of pretrial hearings may reduce the seriousness of the allegations against you, or even see the charges dropped entirely, saving you the time, money, and stress of a criminal trial. Contact us at Law Offices of Vivian N. Szawarc to schedule a free initial consultation to learn how we can help you.