A pretrial conference or pretrial hearing in a criminal case is a hearing that takes place before the trial. During this time, the judge as well as the plaintiff, defendant and the lawyers involved will gather together to determine some of the more uncertain legal matters. The goal during this time is to take care of legal issues that might impede the trial and cause problems. By taking care of these legal issues before the trial begins, the trial can run smoothly.
Sometimes a lawyer will talk about a pretrial hearing or pretrial conference that is essentially a meeting. After the pretrial hearing, there may be other pretrial meetings to discuss specific issues. These types of meetings only take place if there are concerns, questions or specific legal accusations that need to be resolved before the trial can take place.
What do I need to do to prepare for a pretrial hearing or pretrial conference where I am the defendant?
A lawyer is a necessity for a pretrial hearing or pretrial conference. These are intense legal proceedings with complex legal language and are instrumental in the future development of the trial. During these proceedings, your lawyer may work with you to accept or reject an offer from the prosecutor or choose to keep your plea of “not guilty.” When you keep your plea of “not guilty,” you move on to the trial. During this time, your lawyer will be asking for a settlement offer as will the prosecution. Whether or not these settlements will be agreed upon or whether or not they are a good choice for you, the defendant, depends on each individual case.