You pled ‘not guilty’ to the charge of DUI. The court has notified you that your next court date is a pretrial conference. Sometimes this makes people very nervous because it sounds awfully like a trial. Think of it more as a pretrial hearing.
What is a Pretrial Hearing for DUI?
The pretrial conference is a hearing that the court sets for the parties before the trial. It is a time for the attorneys to discuss the case amongst themselves. It is also a time to discuss the matter with the judge. At the pretrial conference, the judge will want to know whether the case is ready for trial. He will ask whether the parties have completed discovery and whether the court needs to hear any pretrial legal motions before the
Can You Go to Jail at the Pretrial Conference?
It is possible that you could go to jail at a pretrial conference. There are a couple of different ways that could happen. One way is that you enter into a plea agreement that results in a sentencing hearing be held at the pretrial conference, and the judge sentences you to jail forthwith. Forthwith jail means that you are sent to jail from the courtroom. Another way that you could end up in jail at a pretrial conference is if you violated a term of your pretrial release or had failed to appear for court at a prior hearing. The judge could order you to jail if you violated the conditions the court placed on you.
Can a Plea Agreement Be Met?
Often, the attorneys can work out a settlement agreement at this time, and the case is taken care of through some plea agreement. A plea agreement stops the case from going forward to trial, and there is a sentencing hearing instead.
What If a Resolution is Not Found?
If a plea agreement does not resolve the matter, then the case is set for trial. Some judges may set a status conference before the trial to address any last minute issues. This will also give the attorneys one more opportunity to resolve the case before it goes to trial. Also, sometimes the matter will be continued for a second pretrial conference. The court will do this if any issues could help bring the matter to a close. Or if, for any reason, the case is not quite ready for trial.