While the word “trial” is in this procedure, it is quite a simple and quick process. There are no witnesses, opening statements, closings, or even a jury. It is a hearing that occurs after the defendant has been Arraigned (see Arraignment in our blog). If your attorney is going to request a future date for a pre-trial, your attorney will discuss with you the need to sign a Speedy Trial Waiver.
In most counties and cities in Washington, the pre-trial hearing is set approximately one month following the Arraignment. There can be one or many pre-trial hearings depending on the nature of the case and how negotiations are proceeding between the prosecutor and defense attorney.
What happens at a pre-trial?
During your pre-trial hearing, a case is either resolved, continued, set for motions, or set for trial. If you are pleading guilty, entering a diversion contract, or entering a deferred prosecution (or some other alternative resolution), you are “resolving” the case.
If your defense attorney is still working on your case by way of negotiation or gathering information, she will request a continuance and another pre-trial date will be set a month or so out.
If the prosecutor and defense attorney are in dispute as to whether certain evidence should be admitted or have some issue that requires a legal argument, the defense attorney will request a date to argue Motions.
If the prosecutor and defense attorney are no longer working toward an alternative resolution, dismissal, or other negotiation, the defense attorney will request a date be set for trial. Once that happens, the case is set for trial and the attorneys must be prepared to go to trial on that date.
If you have a case in Kitsap County or surrounding cities and have yet to be Arraigned or are facing your first Pre-Trial, give our office a call to learn how we can help. 360-792-1000.