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. It is not a trial.
The Pretrial Conference
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
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.
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.