Keegan Law: Schedule a Pretrial Consultations
Questions about pretrial? A Boston & Quincy, MA Criminal Attorney Can Help
After your arraignment and before your trial, you and your attorney will have the opportunity to consider a plea bargain, file motions to have evidence dismissed, or take other steps to prepare. These are called pretrial proceedings. In Massachusetts, this includes a pretrial conference and pretrial hearing.
A pretrial conference is a meeting between you, your criminal defense attorney and the prosecution. The court may require this meeting to be held under the supervision of a judge or clerk-magistrate, though this is not mandatory. The pretrial conference will be used to address discovery, whether the case can be disposed of without a trial, and if a trial is to occur, the trial date, the estimated length of the trial and the availability of the witnesses who will need to testify. This is also the point at which a plea bargain may be considered.
A pretrial hearing is held before the court and involves the defense and prosecution, with the defendant in attendance as well. At this hearing, the defendant may tender a plea and other pretrial matters will be included: filing a report on the pretrial conference, discovery, pretrial motions (such as motions to suppress evidence), and setting a trial date. Pretrial hearings can be used to address crucial case-related matters, such as whether evidence should be admitted at trial.
Should I accept a plea bargain?
One of the most important matters to consider during pretrial proceedings is whether to accept a plea bargain. A plea bargain, or plea agreement, may be offered by the prosecution to resolve the case without going to trial. Although the specifics of a plea agreement will vary depending on the unique case, it typically involves a defendant entering a guilty plea or continuance without finding (CWOF) in exchange for a lesser charge or sentence. A CWOF is similar to a “no contest” plea and can appear better on your criminal record, as you are not admitting guilt but are instead essentially admitting that there is evidence that you committed a crime and that this evidence is sufficient to find you responsible.
Accepting a plea bargain and considering pretrial motions are exceedingly complex matters. The skill and experience of your Quincy attorney are likely to have a dramatic influence on how pretrial proceedings are used to impact your criminal case. A successful motion to suppress evidence, for example, may completely destroy the prosecution’s case against you, helping you secure a dismissal or acquittal. At Keegan Law, you can count on our knowledge and our commitment to helping our clients take the right approach for their unique needs, concerns and goals. To find out more about our firm, contact a Boston criminal defense lawyer.