Before you tell your side of the story to the judge or jury, you (and/or your lawyer) will have to collect evidence, witnesses, and prepare arguments in an organized manner so that you can mount an effective defense. This section will introduce you some of the most important steps you need to take to prepare for trial.
Pretrial conferences are chances for the defendant and his or her lawyer to meet with the prosecutor and judge to discuss the case, legal issues, evidence, or a possible resolution to the case such as a plea bargain.
The defendant, defendant’s lawyer, and the prosecutor must attend pretrial conferences as scheduled by the judge. If the defendant does not have a lawyer and if jail is a possible penalty, the judge will conduct the pretrial conference but will only discuss procedural matters with the defendant, unless the defendant has waived the right to an attorney both in court and in writing.
At the end of the pretrial conference the judge will either accept a change of plea to guilty or no contest to an agreed offense(s), dismiss the charge(s) on motion of either party, schedule another pretrial conference, schedule a hearing on any motions, or set the case for a trial.