A pretrial hearing is a preliminary hearing where the court checks on the status of your DUI case.
Between the time of your arraignment and your pretrial hearing, your DUI attorney should have:
- Investigated all of the facts and legal issues in your case
- Set you on a course of conduct to help assist in the negotiation of your case
- Identified all legal issues and motions involved in your case
- Begun negotiations with the prosecuting attorney in charge of your case
Once all of these steps are in order, your case will move toward a pretrial hearing.
Possible Outcomes of a Pretrial Hearing
At “pretrial” there are three possible outcomes of the hearing:
- Agreed Resolution
- Set for Trial/ Motion Hearing
- Pretrial at a Later Date
In some cases, an agreed resolution can be reached. This would mean that your attorney has successfully negotiated a favorable outcome to your DUI charge. If this were to occur, the charge would be dismissed or more likely reduced to a lesser charge. If the charge is reduced by way of a “plea bargain” you might be sentenced to the reduced charge on the day of the pretrial hearing. In some jurisdictions, a separate sentencing hearing will be set.
Set for Trial
If the parties can’t agree on resolution, it is possible that your case will be set for trial and/or a motion hearing at “pretrial.” If this were to occur, you would receive future court dates to return. It doesn’t mean that your case still won’t eventually be resolved in your favor. It simply means that the state has not been persuaded to do so. Yet.
Finally, if the parties have not reached an agreement, or your attorney is in need of additional time to investigate or negotiate your case, it is likely that the “pretrial” will be continued to another date. This is actually a relatively common occurrence for a first pretrial in a DUI case.