If you’ve been arrested or charged with criminal activity, there’s a specific process that takes place between the time moment you are arrested and the first day of your criminal trial. Each step of the process is important for protecting your rights. One of the most important elements of the criminal process is the pretrial hearing and motion sentencing.

What Is a Pretrial Hearing?

A pretrial hearing is essentially a meeting that takes place between the judge, and both the prosecuting and defense teams, before the official trial begins. There are several reasons that a pretrial hearing is important, but the primary purpose is resolve legal issues and important details before the trial begins. This helps to eliminate distractions that might interfere with a smooth trial process.

The pretrial hearing and motion sentencing is also the final time that the accused will appear in court before their trial begins, meaning that this is also the only opportunity to establish pretrial motions – for example, why certain evidence should be excluded, which witnesses should and shouldn’t be allowed to testify in the case and if there is any reason that the defendant should be excused from standing trial.

The judge in the case will listen to the motions put forth by both the defense and prosecution and make crucial decisions about how the case will proceed as it goes to trial.

Examples of Motions Presented at a Pretrial Hearing

While it might seem that a pretrial hearing is nothing more than a formality, what happens during this event can significantly impact the outcome of your criminal case. A few examples of motions presented at a pretrial hearing include:

  • The Motion to Dismiss – An argument that the case should be dismissed due to lack of evidence or other reasons.
  • The Motion for the Exclusion or Release of Evidence – An argument that evidence should be excluded from the trial or that the prosecution release evidence they have.
  • The Motion to Exclude Testimony – an argument that witness testimony should be exclude for any number of reasons.
  • Summary Judgement – An agreement that the facts of the case are not being disputed and that the court order judgement with a trial.
  • The Motion to Change Venue – An argument that the current venue could result in a jury prejudiced against the defendant.

Preparing for a Pretrial Hearing and Motion Sentencing

Preparing for a pretrial hearing and motion sentencing involves open cooperation and communication with the defense attorney who is representing your case. This is the number one thing you can do to ensure the team defending you is prepared to make the appropriate motions in court.

From a prosecution standpoint, they will be looking at details like your criminal history, whether or not you’ve expressed guilt or remorse, the feelings of any victims involved in the case and the likelihood that a conviction could be obtained upon going to trial. It’s important that your defense attorney be able to counter any motion put forth by the prosecution that might interfere with them successfully representing your case.

Hire an Experienced Attorney

If you’re facing criminal charges, the best thing you can do to ensure a successful pretrial hearing is to contact a defense attorney who is experienced to handle your case. Contact John D. Kirby today to request a free consultation.