What Does Pretrial Mean?

What Does Pretrial Mean?

What Happens During Pretrial?

While many people are familiar with the trial process, few people know what exactly occurs during the pre-trial period. In reality, this phase of a criminal case is an extremely important role. In many cases, pre-trials have a significant influence on what ends up happening during the trial. For this reason, it is best to obtain the assistance of an attorney with extensive pretrial experience as soon as possible who can help you navigate the pretrial process. It can also help to understand some of the important details about the pre-trial phase.

What Constitutes the Pre-Trial Phase?

The pre-trial phase is the period after you are charged with a crime but before your trial occurs. During this time, you have the option to enter a plea in response to the charges brought against you. If you plead not guilty to the offense, a judge will decide what issues to address before trial. During this period, your attorney will investigate the details surrounding your charges and collect any evidence.

Most often, though, this phase involves pre-trial conferences and preliminary hearings. During this period, a particularly experienced lawyer can help take the steps necessary to make sure that your case resolves in the best possible manner by beginning negotiations with the prosecution. During the pre-trial period, legal counsel might also make a motion for your case. Some of the most common types of motions include motions to dismiss your case due to insufficient evidence, motions to exclude evidence of the crime from the trial, motions to compel the prosecution to disclose certain evidence, and motions to change the venue in which the trial will be held. In many cases, the pre-trial process takes several weeks.

Plea Bargaining

Sometimes during the pretrial process, the prosecution might offer you a plea bargain to avoid trial. In many cases, this offer involves pleading to an offense that is not as serious as the one with which you are charged. In return for your plea, the prosecution will recommend a less serious penalty than you might have faced. Other times, the prosecution will offer a plea bargain in exchange for a testimony that you will provide against someone else. It is important to understand that a judge is not required to rule in accordance with the agreement reached through a plea bargain. In many cases, however, judges do follow these agreements. If the prosecution does not uphold the agreement, a court will often permit you to “take back” your guilty plea. Because the pre-trial process is often particularly complicated, it is wise during this process to rely on the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can make certain that you pursue the best possible options.

Speak with an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you need assistance navigating a pretrial or any other stage of the federal criminal trial process, you would likely benefit from the assistance of an experienced attorney at the Federal Criminal Law Center. Contact our law office today to schedule a free consultation.