If you have been charged with a criminal offense in Florida for the first time you are likely frightened and worried about the outcome of your case. In addition, you are likely confused about the entire criminal prosecution process. Unless you have been through the process before you have no way of knowing what to expect at each stage of the case. For example, what happens at a pre-trial conference in a criminal case in Florida?

The life of a criminal case in Florida can last months, even years, depending on the severity of the charges and the complexity of the case. Between the time you are initially arrested and the time your case if finally resolved, either by entering into a plea agreement, dismissal of all charges, or going to trial, you will likely be required to appear for at least one pre-trial conference. If you are charged with a felony you could be required to appear at numerous pre-trial conferences before your case is finally resolved.

The purpose of a pre-trial conference in a criminal prosecution is first and foremost to let the court know how the case is progressing. There are time tables, set by statute, that require a criminal prosecution to be completed in a timely manner. While there are exceptions to these time tables, the court is required to try and resolve every case within the allotted period of time. In addition, a court calendar can quickly become bogged down if cases do not move through the system in an efficient manner. Therefore, the judge presiding over your case wants a “progress report” from both sides letting the court know where things stand.

In addition, a pre-trial conference can be used for a variety of other purposes, including:

  • Review of bond if you remain in custody.
  • Filing or making motions relating to your case, such as a motion to suppress evidence
  • Requesting a continuance of an upcoming trial date if you are not prepared to proceed to trial yet.
  • Addressing discovery or evidentiary issues with the court
  • Discussing trial issues such  as proposed jury instructions filed with the court

Your attorney may also take the opportunity to discuss the possibility of entering into a plea agreement with the prosecutor if you are interested and the option has not been discussed before that point in time.

If you have specific questions about what is likely to happen at your upcoming pre-trial conference, be sure to consult with your Florida criminal defense attorney at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein, PLC. Call 1-855-PSF-FIRM or (727) 531-2926 for a free consultation and case evaluation.