What is a pretrial?

A Pretrial is a court date that occurs before the actual trial date and after the initial appearance and arraignment dates. The purpose of a pretrial is really just to tell the judge what you are going to do with the case. For example, if you are asking for a continuance, you can ask the judge for a continuance. If you are setting the case for a plea you can set the case for a plea. In essence, a pretrial is the court’s way of asking the attorneys involved, “What’s going on with the case?”

The Purpose of Pretrial in Florida

Why is it important?

The importance of pretrial is that the court date marks a landmark in a criminal case. As a general rule, most judges will give an attorney a first-time continuance without much trouble. However, if active steps are not taken between pretrial periods to advance the case in a meaningful way, then the Court may stop granting continuances. Continuances are sometimes crucial to an effective and full representation of a case.

In some cases, multiple continuances and multiple pretrials are necessary in order to achieve the best possible outcome. However, in some instances an ineffective lawyer may sit back and do nothing in between court dates, simply asking the judge to push the case back over and over. At a certain point, the judge may simply refuse to allow any further continuances. If nothing has been done on the case, this can put the client in a very dangerous situation: you’re about to have your case set for trial or a plea without any meaningful work being performed. Once a case gets to that point, it’s often too late to get the essential work done in order to achieve a proper outcome.

Tools for Managing Pretrial?

It’s important that your lawyer is actively pursuing your case in between pretrial dates. Understanding the importance of each and every pretrial will help the client to be a better client, and will also help the client to weed out a good attorney from a lazy attorney. Questions to ask your lawyer: (1) What steps are you taking from this pretrial until the next pretrial to advance my case; (2) Are we conducting depositions; (3) Do you need names of witnesses for a defense witness list?; (4) What is our strategy heading into the next pretrial?

Advancing Your Case Forward?

By understanding the importance of pretrial and asking the right questions, a client will be in a better position to have their case resolved in a more favorable way. While there are never any guarantees in the criminal justice system, you want to make sure you are taking every step possible to achieve the result that you need.

If you have any questions about your case call a Criminal Defense Attorney in Central Florida. At the Smith & Eulo Law Firm, we offer a free initial consultation, as well as a 24-hour operator to help you set up consultations or get critical feedback around the clock. Call us today for your free consultation.

To learn more about the purpose of pretrial call us at 407-930-8912 to speak with a qualified legal professional or fill out the contact form on this page. We’re available 24/7, we offer free initial consultation and payment plans. In addition to our Orlando location, we have offices in the following cities across the state of Florida:

*Additional Orlando Florida & Orange County Legal Resources