A misdemeanor pretrial hearing represents an opportunity for a defendant to have their charge dismissed. If the defendant can expose a weak case, a prosecutor may be unlikely to move forward with it. This can help the defendant move past their case as quickly as possible.
At Simmrin Law Group, we understand what is required to achieve the best possible result in a misdemeanor pretrial hearing. We can connect you with a top-notch criminal defense lawyer who can teach you about misdemeanor pretrial hearings. Our attorney can answer common questions about what happens at a misdemeanor pretrial hearing and related legal topics.
What Is a Misdemeanor Pretrial Hearing?
A misdemeanor pretrial hearing is a type of preliminary hearing. During the pretrial hearing, a judge listens to both sides. There may be multiple misdemeanor pretrial hearings in the case since a judge may encourage both sides to negotiate a settlement so they can avoid a trial.
In a pretrial hearing, motions can be filed. There can also be discovery exchanges that take place. With discovery exchanges, the defendant and prosecutor share evidence and testimony that support their respective arguments.
If a prosecutor deems their case to be strong, this individual may use a pretrial hearing to push for a trial. On the other hand, if a prosecutor finds their case lacks adequate evidence and testimony, this individual may be inclined to settle. At this point, the prosecutor and defendant may work together on a plea bargain.
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How does a Plea Bargain Work in a Misdemeanor Pretrial Hearing?
A plea bargain is a legal settlement intended to meet the needs of both sides in a case. For example, a person may be charged with a misdemeanor. This individual can accept a plea bargain that results in lesser charges than those that could come after a trial in exchange for a fast resolution.
If a plea bargain is presented in a pretrial hearing, a defendant should weigh its pros and cons. The defendant is under no obligation to accept the agreement. However, if the agreement appears fair, the defendant can approve it.
There can be times when a criminal defense attorney suggests their client propose a plea bargain to a prosecutor, too. At these times, a defendant must decide if it is in their best interest to offer a plea agreement. If so, the defendant’s attorney can help this individual craft a plea bargain designed to hit the mark with all parties involved in a case.
Do You Need to Appear at a Misdemeanor Pretrial Hearing?
In many instances, a criminal defense attorney can appear at a misdemeanor pretrial hearing on their client’s behalf. All misdemeanor pretrial hearings are open to the public. As such, a defendant and anyone else can attend them.
If you attend your misdemeanor pretrial hearing, it helps to listen carefully to what your attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge have to say. Your attorney will advocate on your behalf while the prosecutor tries to further their case against you. Meanwhile, the judge attempts to keep order and ensure the hearing moves forward without disruption.
For those who attend a misdemeanor pretrial hearing, expect your attorney to do most of the talking. A judge will rarely ask a defendant a question during a pretrial hearing. If you receive a question from a judge during your pretrial hearing, you should respond to it accordingly.
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How Long does a Misdemeanor Pretrial Hearing Last?
A misdemeanor pretrial hearing may last only a few minutes. For instance, a defendant and prosecutor may have come to terms with a plea bargain before the hearing. If this happens, both parties can quickly resolve the case during the pretrial hearing.
Discovery issues or other legal problems can be brought up during a misdemeanor pretrial hearing. Discussion about these issues can extend the hearing’s length. It can reach a point where one or both parties in the case are required to provide additional information before the case can progress.
A defendant, prosecutor, or both can request several misdemeanor pretrial hearings. Each hearing provides an opportunity for a defendant and prosecutor to reach a settlement prior to a trial. If no settlement is reached, a pretrial hearing can be used to determine when a trial will take place.
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What Should You Do to Get Your Case Dismissed During a Misdemeanor Pretrial Hearing?
Partnering with a criminal defense lawyer offers a great starting point for those who want to get a misdemeanor charge dismissed. Your attorney can review your misdemeanor charge and look for ways to dispute it. In the time leading up to your pretrial hearing, your lawyer can help you gather evidence and present it in a way that compels a prosecutor to drop their case against you.
It is possible to get a misdemeanor dismissed if a criminal defense attorney makes a strong argument during a pretrial hearing. The prosecutor may discover that their argument against a defendant is inadequate, to the point where it may no longer be feasible to move forward with a case. In this scenario, the prosecutor may choose to offer a settlement or drop the charge against a defendant altogether.
If a case gets dismissed in a misdemeanor pretrial hearing, a defendant is off the hook. The defendant no longer has to worry about the legal ramifications that can come with having a misdemeanor conviction tied to their record. Plus, the defendant can take solace in the fact that their attorney did what was necessary to show the prosecutor that their case was not enough to warrant a trial.
How Can You Start Getting Ready for a Misdemeanor Pretrial Hearing?
At Simmrin Law Group, we can put you in touch with a criminal defense lawyer who can help you prepare for your misdemeanor pretrial hearing. Our attorney can explain what to expect when the hearing takes place and ensure you are prepared for any legal challenges that come your way. To learn more or request a free case evaluation, please contact us today.