What is a Pretrial Conference in Georgia?
Countless steps are required before the resolution of a case. To people without legal representation, every step can appear overwhelming and hard to manage by themselves. At the offices of Lawson and Berry, we understand that being charged with a crime is an incredibly stressful situation and attempting to handle it on your own is exhausting. Our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience and ready to help you with your case. We will ensure you receive the best representation possible and that the strongest defense is presented on your behalf. Whether it is a pretrial conference or final hearing, we are here for you. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
O.C.G.A. §9-11-16 outlines pretrial procedure and what issues can be considered at the conference. As the name suggests, a pretrial conference is a meeting of the parties before trial. Either the plaintiff or defendant may request a pretrial conference, or the court may order it. There are several reasons why one might request a pretrial conference:
- Expedite the resolution of the case
- Simplify the issues
- Limit the number of expert witnesses
- Discourage wasteful pretrial activities
- Improve the quality of the trial
- Facilitate a settlement of the case
A defendant's guilt or innocence is not decided at the pretrial conference. Generally, for criminal cases, they are used to promote a fair and expeditious trial as well as discussing preliminary matters such as what evidence will be excluded from the trial or what witnesses will be allowed to testify.
At the conference, the judge can make rulings on motions, set the schedule for trial, and decide what evidence can be admitted. A frequent topic for pretrial conferences is discovery. Discovery is the process of turning over evidence necessary to prepare a defense.
Judges encourage settling through pre-trial conferences. For civil cases, judges may refer the case to arbitration or mediation where a third party tries to help the parties reach a resolution. If the case has not been settled at the end of the conference, then the judge will set a date for trial.
Why Having an Attorney is Recommended
Pretrial conferences can be an invaluable tool to help resolve your case. It is recommended that defendants are represented during the pretrial conference in order to have a successful meeting. Without legal training or an in-depth knowledge of criminal law, it is hard to understand what are appropriate issues for the conferences.
However, not all lawyers know how to appropriately utilize pretrial conferences because they don't practice criminal law. To ensure you are receiving the best possible representation, you need an attorney experienced in criminal law. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 50 combined years of criminal experience. Contact us today to secure the premier defense team in Georgia!