As outlined by the American Bar Association, a pretrial hearing in criminal court allows the lawyers, defendants and any victims involved in the case to come before the judge and receive or share important information about the upcoming trial.Continue Reading
When a plea of not guilty is entered in a criminal case, a pretrial date is set to assess readiness for a bench or jury trial, according to Washington Courts. At this time it is decided whether the accused parties are allowed to post bail and remain free until the pretrial hearing. If allowed, the judge determines how much bail money the defendants have to pay. All lawyers must be present at the pretrial hearing, as well as the defendants, or they risk forfeiting their bail money. The judge makes a ruling on such things as a specific trial date and whether or not certain evidence may be allowed for use in court.
According to The Law Dictionary, another main reason for a pretrial hearing is to ensure that the parties involved understand all of the charges being brought against them and that they are aware of their right to counsel and a jury trial. Lawyers on both sides use this hearing as an opportunity to outline their strategies, exchange their witness lists and make any negotiations or offers of plea bargains.Learn more about Crime
In legal terms, the phrase "bound over for trial" indicates that a judge believes that there is probable cause for a case to proceed to trial, according to the American Bar Association. Probable cause means that there is enough evidence to credibly suggest a defendant's guilt.Full Answer >
According to the American Bar Association, a pretrial hearing is often used to help the judge manage the case, help establish a time frame for all pretrial activities and set a tentative date for the trial. In some instances, a judge may refer special cases, such as child custody hearings, to a special program including dispute resolutions or arbitration.Full Answer >
When writing a mitigation plea, the accused should include information that helps the court to understand the offender’s circumstance, encouraging the judge to give a less serious penalty, according to Legal Aid. It should include pertinent issues, such as defendant’s responsibilities, a difficult financial situation and explanation of the crime.Full Answer >
At a revocation hearing, the judge determines whether or not the defendant admits guilt or pleas innocent to violating their parole or probation. This is legally termed the preliminary revocation hearing.Full Answer >