What is pretrial?
Pretrial is a court date that occurs before the actual trial date and after the initial appearance and arraignment dates. The purpose of 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?”
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 in 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 on 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 to 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 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 Central Florida. At the Smith & Eulo Law Firm we offer a free initial consultation, as well as a 24-hour operator to help you setup consultations or get critical feedback around the clock. Call us today for your free consultation.