What is a Misdemeanor Pretrial Conference?
If you're charged with a criminal misdemeanor, your case is probably set for a hearing that's called a Pretrial Conference. You're probably wondering what that is.
When you're charged with a criminal misdemeanor, the first hearing that you have is called an Initial Appearance. That's when the Judge tells you what you're charged with and you either plead guilty or not guilty at the initial appearance. Most defendants plead not guilty. The Judge will therefore set the case for what's called a Pre-Trial Conference.
Now, a Pre-Trial Conference is an opportunity for the defendant and the defendant's attorney to meet with the prosecutor. The prosecutor has an obligation at the pre-trial conference to disclose to you or your attorney all the evidence that the State intends to present at trial. That evidence could include police reports, lab reports, witnesses and witness statements that the State would be expected to call if the case went to trial.
If the prosecution chooses to do so, they may also extend to you a plea offer. At that time, you and your defense attorney can discuss whether to accept the plea agreement. That decision to accept the plea agreement will be partially based on the evidence that the prosecutor discloses at the pre-trial conference. So, you can make a decision whether to accept the plea agreement and set the case for a change of plea hearing or you could set the matter for trial.