What happens if you were arrested for a crime in California and have entered a “not guilty” plea? You may have many questions about how the process works but one thing remains the same in every case: You will proceed to the pretrial conference phase of the court process. This refers to all court appearances, motions, discovery issues, and plea bargains or negotiations. This is everything that takes place before a criminal trial and will play the most important role. You may find that pretrial hearings are especially useful in resolving many issues before the trial actually begins.

Note that a pretrial hearing is different from something else you may have heard of – the pretrial conference. Pretrial conferences will usually take place before trial begins as well and will focus on many issues such as pretrial motions, evidence, and more. After the initial conference, the pretrial hearing occurs. During the pretrial process, you will learn more about the strengths or weaknesses of the case, intangible factors of the case, and plea bargain possibilities.

Common Pretrial Motions in California 

Many issues in California criminal cases are resolved through motions. Some of these common pretrial motions in California courts include:

Penal Code 995 PC: This is a motion to dismiss and may be raised if your attorney believes that some of your charges were not legally filed. If the judge agrees and rules in your favor, then some or all of your charges will be dismissed.

Penal Code 1538.5 PC: This is a motion to suppress evidence because of illegal search and seizure. If granted, the evidence will be suppressed and will be excluded from evidence.

Pitchess Motion: This is a request for information contained in the personnel file of the arresting officer. If you run this motion, you were most likely a victim of police misconduct. 

Serna Motion: This is a motion to dismiss charges against you because you were denied a right to a speedy trial.

You will find that the pretrial process and motions are especially important to your California criminal case. Pretrial motions may lead to plea bargaining, which could be essential to you because you may be able to receive a lesser sentence and more. With the help of an attorney, you should plan out the steps you wish to take in your pretrial process. Call us today for more information on how we can help you at The Law Office of Peter Blair.