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Navigating the actual process and procedures that take place during the trial process can be confusing and often scary. This section is a general guide as to what hearings you should expect to have and what they all mean.
Bond Arraignment.—This is the 1st hearing that you will have. It is required by law that a person being charged with a misdemeanor crime have the opportunity to appear before a judge and have the judge explain to them exactly what crimes they are being accused of and what the maximum possible penalties each of those crimes carry. For example, Driving While Intoxicated carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in the county jail and $500 in fines.
Pre-Trial Conference.—This is the 2nd hearing that you will have. A Pre-Trial Conference is a scheduling hearing that is set by the court, usually 30 days after your bond arraignment. The hearing is regarded as a scheduling conference between the judge, the district attorney, and us. At the hearing the judge wants to know if the case is ready for a trial and what needs to be done by both parties to have the trial heard. A case may have multiple pre-trial settings if the judge determines that it is necessary.
Criminal Trial/Jury Trial.—This is the actual trial for your case. At these hearings, all the witnesses must be present, including all the officers, any civilian witnesses, and any witnesses that you may have.
Common Terms you might hear and what they mean…
Waiver of Appearance: We have you sign a form that we will submit to the judge that gives you permission to NOT have to attend the bond arraignment and pre-trial conference, since these hearings usually occur during the middle of the work day. The form states that you have retained us as your attorney and that we have explained to you what will happen at each hearing.
P.T.I.s: This term is short for pre-trial interviews. These are interviews that we request on your behalf. Prior to the trial, we have the right to interview all of the witnesses the state plans on calling to testify; this includes all of the police officers in your case.