The DUI readiness hearing is usually held one to two weeks before the set trial date. This is a trial confirmation hearing or jury call hearing. Jury trials are very costly for the government, and the readiness hearing can prevent undue tax dollar waste. The court will inquire if both parties are really ready to proceed to trial. A judge does not want either side to state they are unprepared for trial on the day the trial begins. Unforeseen situations can occur, affecting witness availability requiring one party to request a continuance. Often times both parties successfully negotiate an advantageous settlement and trial is no longer necessary. Settlements or plea bargains often occur at the readiness hearing. The presiding judge wants to know about all of these things at the readiness hearing.
Experienced DUI attorneys are willing to go through trial to get the best result and prosecutors sometimes wait until the last minute to settle a case for a number of reasons. Time management is a common reason given that prosecutors carry enormous case loads and simply do not have the time to negotiate every case before this hearing.
When both parties simply cannot agree upon a disposition or plea bargain they both confirm a trial is necessary. The court then will attempt to accommodate everyone’s schedules when assigning a specific day and time to begin the trial. Bring your calendar with you to this hearing because the courts do make an earnest effort to avoid conflicts.
The DUI readiness hearing is a large calendar involving numerous cases from numerous jurisdictions. Expect spending more time in court for this hearing than the previous hearings. Ask your attorney if your presence is necessary. In rare circumstances, the court may waive the presence of the defendant. However, always assume your presence is required for every court hearing.