The Pretrial Conference is held approximately every 30 days in court. This is where the judge makes sure that all discovery items (police reports, audio tapes, video tapes, blood and breath test results, etc.) have been turned over by the state to defense counsel. The judge also checks on the status of interviews and other matters that are necessary for the defense to prepare their case during the “discovery” phase of the case. On misdemeanor cases, there will normally be three to four pretrial conferences before all of the discovery is complete. A “Plea Agreement” is then relayed to the defense attorney in order for him to sit down with the Defendant to discuss their next step. (See Plea Agreements-Sentencing).
It is also during the pretrial conference phase that ongoing plea negotiations are held with the prosecutor and various motions can be filed (if factually based) by defense counsel. These can be: Motions to Dismiss based on numerous constitutional violations; Motions to Suppress evidence based on police misconduct; Deposition Motions to force witnesses to appear and give testimony; Motions to Compel documents to be released from police custody; etc.