Pretrial hearings are used to deal with evidentiary issues and other legal matters
If you have been arrested on suspicion of committing a criminal offense in California, you are likely scared, overwhelmed, and anxious about what will happen next. If you have hired a criminal lawyer Riverside, CA, he or she can walk with you through it. However, learning about the criminal justice process can be an important way to feel better about the next steps — and reduce your level of worry.
After you have been arrested, booked, and had an opportunity to enter a “not guilty” plea, you will enter the pretrial phase of your criminal case. During this phase, your lawyer will be gathering evidence (a process known as discovery), filing motions (legal paperwork) and asking for and attending pretrial hearings. Throughout this time, your criminal lawyer Riverside, CA will also likely be engaging in negotiations with the prosecutor to try to get a plea deal for you. Most California criminal cases are resolved during the pretrial phase.
Pretrial hearings are a critical part of the criminal justice process. During a hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to make requests and arguments to protect your rights and advance your defense. For example, if your case has received a substantial amount of publicity locally, your criminal lawyer Riverside, CA may file a motion (legal document) asking the judge to change the venue. While this type of motion may be decided just through motions filed by each side, a judge may hold a hearing where both sides have the opportunity to present their arguments.
In misdemeanor cases, you do not have to attend pretrial hearings; your attorney can represent you at the hearing. However, if you have been charged with a felony, your attendance is required at all hearings. Be sure to consult with your lawyer about whether it is necessary or important for you to be at a particular pretrial hearing.
There are many possible pretrial hearings that may be held in your criminal case. These include:
- A hearing to address a motion to suppress evidence based on an illegal search;
- An evidentiary hearing;
- A bail hearing to set or lower bail;
- A hearing to address your right to a speedy trial; or
- A hearing regarding the prosecution’s failure to turn over evidence.
Many of these hearings are based on motions that your criminal lawyer Riverside, CA may file with the court. For example, if your attorney believes that the prosecution has not turned over exculpatory evidence (any evidence that is favorable to the defendant because it tends to show that he is not guilty), then he or she may file a motion to demand discovery. As part of the motion, your lawyer may request a hearing. At this pretrial hearing, each side will have the opportunity to argue as to why the evidence should or should not be disclosed.
If you have been charged with a California criminal offense, the Chambers Law Firm can help. Contact us today at 855-397-0210 or email@example.com to schedule a free initial consultation.