After the Arraignment, assuming the case is not terminated by a plea of guilty or a successful (motion) to dismiss, the criminal case proceeds to a series or pretrial settings, which can also be called conference settings, trial settings, pretrial hearings ??? all of which mean the same thing: A court date during which the parties speak and trade information concerning the case and what will happen on it.
A great deal of pretrial discussion and hearings will revolve around Discovery. Discovery is a legal term for the exchange of materials and information that will be used as evidence at a trial. The prosecution must deliver to the defense attorney all materials it intends to use in order to prove guilt, including witness statements, police reports, expert reports, DWI testing logs, audio and video recordings, and so forth. The defense will request additional discovery, and it may take several pretrial settings until each side is satisfied enough to go forward.
Other typical pretrial activity may include discussions on outstanding or requested discovery, plea bargaining, exchanging information of expert witnesses and general witness lists, formulate motions and dates, check the status of the existing trial date, and determine whether a continuance may be necessary in order to accomplish all the of above and finish investigation.
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