After a person who has been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Los Angeles enters a plea of “not guilty” at arraignment, the case will then proceed to pretrial. During the pretrial phase, the prosecution, defense and court will work on resolving various issues that may exist. In addition, most of the discovery process occurs during the pretrial phase and this is where plea bargaining is generally conducted. The Court will also hear any pretrial motions during this phase. The majority of criminal offenses are resolved in the pretrial phase.

Depending on the circumstances, there may be numerous pretrial conferences before a case goes to trial or there may be just one. A person is entitled to a speedy trial within a statutory set time, however it may be to his or her advantage to waive a speedy trial. The discovery process can often extend for a lengthy period of time and it may be in the defendant’s interest to have numerous pretrials to ensure that all discovery is received.

Discovery refers to the rules regarding how evidence in a case is to be provided to the opposing side. California’s discovery rules apply to both the prosecution and defense and both sides are generally responsible for turning over any evidence that would be used at trial. The prosecution is required to turn over evidence and information relating to its case. The prosecution must also turn over any and all exculpatory evidence that is favorable to the defendant. The defense attorney will usually submit an informal discovery request to the prosecutor. If the prosecution fails to comply with the defendant’s request for discovery, the defense can file a formal discovery request with the court and can have a hearing regarding the prosecution’s failure to comply. If the judge determines that the prosecutor has violated his or her discovery obligations, sanctions may be imposed. These sanctions can include not allowing the prosecution to use the evidence during trial or even dismissing the underlying criminal charges.

Upon receiving a discovery request, the prosecutor will ask the relevant law enforcement agency to provide the requested material. Depending on the agency involved, it may take a substantial amount of time for the discovery material to be provided, and it may be necessary to hold several pretrials while this material is still outstanding.

Certain motions are also held at pretrial hearings. Common motions heard during pretrial include motions to suppress evidence pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1538.5 PC, Pitchess motions and Serna motions.

A motion to suppress evidence allows the defendant to challenge the validity of the stop, search, seizure or arrest in his or her case. If the Court determines that the police officer did not comply with the law, the resulting evidence may be suppressed and the prosecution will usually dismiss the charge because they are unable to go forward.

A Pitchess motion is a request to obtain information from a police officer’s personnel file. Specifically, the defense is looking for disciplinary action that may have been taken against the officer and whether the officer has committed police misconduct in the past. During a Pitchess motion, the judge will review the records in chamber before determining what, if anything, can be revealed to the defense.

A Serna motion is a motion to dismiss based on a speedy trial violation. These are often filed in cases in which the defendant was never arraigned on an old violation and the case has been in warrant status for years. The judge may determine that the delay was not justified and that the defendant’s speedy trial rights have been violated.

In addition, much of the plea bargaining that occurs between the defense and the prosecution occurs during pretrial hearings. The defendant’s attorney can present exculpatory evidence to the prosecutor and can point out potential weaknesses in the case. The prosecutor may be willing to reduce the charges or to reach a resolution that is agreeable to the defense.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it is critical that you meet with a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney right away. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer Michael Kraut is highly skilled at defending clients at all stages of the criminal process, including pretrial.

For more information about Los Angeles pretrials, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1520, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.

Share |
Featured on CNN
ABC News
NBC News
Los Angeles Times
CBS News
The New York Times
Us Weekly
Entertainment Tonight
Good Morning America
Legal Broadcast Network
Avvo Rating 10.0
Client Reviews
Michael Kraut is outstanding! He genuinely cared about my case and instructed my mom and I throughout the entire process. He was very clear on what he needed in order to receive the best results. He kept us updated until the end. I thank him so much for getting my charges rejected. I highly recommend him to anyone with legal needs! Shaquan
I contacted Michael with concern for my personal and business reputation. He was very reassuring and confident the entire time. After about 3 weeks it was determined that no charges were being filed by any agency and I was in the clear of any investigation. One thing that is amazing is just how FAST Michael is at replying to phone calls, texts, and even emails! We are talking under 30 minutes in most cases. That is unheard of for most attorneys! Michael is incredible and not your typical run of the mill attorney. For best results hire him if you feel like you might be under investigation or could face charges. Even if you know you are innocent it is best to take care of the smoke before it becomes a fire. Brad
Michael Kraut is-hands down-the best criminal defense attorney and I can't begin to thank him for all that he did for me and my family. I reached out to him in the middle of the night and less than a couple hours later, he had gotten back to me and scheduled a meeting. He's a no-nonsense attorney who knows how to get the job done! From the second we retained him, I had peace of mind in knowing that we were in the best hands possible. If Michael Kraut couldn't get it done, I knew that it couldn't be done at all. You can't put a price tag on your freedom. He was worth every single penny. Lida
Michael Kraut is an outstanding attorney. He was extremely professional, and straightforward, yet sensitive with my case. I am confident I made the right choice by hiring Michael. I highly recommend him to anyone seeking a truly experienced lawyer. Daniel
Michael Kraut - I cannot thank you enough for all that you did for ​my son. When I came to you I read that you used to be a district attorney but I never knew how much that meant until I watch you in court. I knew it took 3 months but the final day when I heard the judge say that all charges were dismissed it was all worth it! I will always be grateful for all that you did for us. A.N.