The Pretrial Court Process


ThePretrial Court Process


ThePretrial Court Process

Beforeevery trial begins, there has to be a pre-trial process. The suspectin a criminal case is either arrested with a warrant or without inthe case that he or she is caught doing a criminal act by the police(Dervort 2000). It is at the time of the pretrial that a decision ismade whether to proceed to full trial or dismiss the case. Thisprocess saves on the court’s time and also prevents the incidencesof an unfair trial.

Thefirst step after the arrest in a misdemeanor is the appearance beforea judge or magistrate. At this stage, the suspect is informed of hisright to remain silent and the right to legal representation. Thecharges are then read to the suspect and a possible sentence read tohim or her. If he pleads guilty, the judge sets a date for thesentencing. Alternatively, he may impose a fine or give the suspectthe probation period. If the suspect pleads not guilty, the amount ofbail is set by the judge or magistrate awaiting trial.

Inthe case of a felony, the suspect makes the initial appearance at thelower court. The charges and penalties are then read to the suspect.The suspect is then informed of his right to a preliminary trial andalso his right to be tried before a jury in the trial court. Thedefendant does not take plea, but a date for the preliminary hearingis set. At this stage, the court decides if there is a probable causeto believe that the suspect is guilty. The defense may enter pretrialmotions 21 days within the arraignment period (Garland 2011). Thecourt before deciding to go on trial must rule on these motions whichare a request to the court by the defense.


Dervort,T. (2000). Americanlaw and the legal system: Equal justice under the law(2nd ed.). Albany, NY: West Legal Studies/Thomson Learning.

Garland,N. (2011). Criminalevidence(6th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill Learning Solutions.