DUI Pretrial Conference Hearing
The DUI pretrial conference is a status hearing informing the court about the progression of the criminal case. It is the court’s interest to keep matters progressing smoothly in order to alleviate calendar congestion, and for the swift administration of justice. The pretrial conference presents a variety of options. Below are common outcomes of the pretrial conference.
Before the pretrial conference, all the evidence the prosecutor has in their possession should be delivered to the defendant’s attorney. There are circumstances that can delay the arrival of the evidence. Continuing the pretrial conference to another date is appropriate in this situation. No one should proceed to a motion hearing or trial without reviewing all of the government’s evidence. There are other numerous valid reasons for requesting a continuance that can include scheduled vacations, witness availability and further case investigation.
Negotiation - Plea Bargaining
The pretrial conference affords time for the defense attorney and the prosecutor to discuss the merits of their case. The defense attorney will target the inadequacy of the facts surrounding the alleged criminal activity, and will present zealous legal argument supporting a dismissal or reduction of the criminal charge. Negotiation and plea bargaining may require sacrifice among both parties. Attorneys should do what is ethically required to secure an advantageous and beneficial settlement when negotiating with the government. However, resolutions are not always accomplished at the pretrial conference.
Set for a Motion Hearing and Trial
When both parties cannot agree on a mutual resolution the court will require the case to progress forward. When that occurs the defense attorney will file various legal motions challenging the government’s evidence and legal theories of the criminal charge. The court and prosecutor will each receive a list of the legal challenges in written form. The court will then determine a convenient motion hearing date, and trial date with both parties. This does not necessarily mean each of those hearings will transpire. Frequently, the parties will continue to negotiate before the motion hearing or trial working on a mutually favorable resolution of the matter.
These are the most common outcomes of a pretrial conference. However, the criminal case can progress with unique obstacles requiring creative solutions.
Are you scheduled to attend a pretrial hearing for a DUI in Washington State and do not have an attorney? Contact us immediately for a FREE consultation to discuss your options and legal rights before that hearing.