In a recent blog posting, we discussed the initial hearings in DUI cases
and what to expect early on in a DUI prosecution. After the initial hearings,
a DUI case will be set for various pretrial hearings with opportunities
for case settlement at any point during this phase of the DUI court process.
Ultimately, if a settlement agreement (or dismissal) is not achieved during
pretrial proceedings, your case will likely proceed to trial. What can
you expect during the pretrial phase of your
Scottsale DUI case and what are the different types of pretrial hearings you can anticipate
in the DUI court process? If you were stopped in
Scottsdale and charged with DUI, which courthouse will you need to appear at?
To answer the question regarding location of your court appearance, it
will depend upon which law enforcement agency cited you and whether you
are being charged with Misdemeanor DUI or Felony DUI. If you were stopped
by the Scottsdale Police Department and cited for a misdemeanor DUI, you
will likely be appearing in the
Scottsdale City Court. If you were stopped by the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) or
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO), you will likely be appearing
in one of the Scottsdale Justice Court Precincts – either the
Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court, the
Desert Ridge Justice Court, or the
Dreamy Draw Justice Court. If you are facing
felony DUI charges in Scottsdale then you will likely be appearing in the
Maricopa County Superior Court / Southeast Facility, at least for your initial hearings. Your case could be transferred to the
Maricopa County Superior Court / Downtown if it's not resolved in the early stages of the court process. You
will need to refer to your traffic ticket, summons, or other court paperwork
you received to determine the exact location, date and time of your first
Pre-Trial Conference is a court hearing where your attorney will have an opportunity to discuss
your case with the prosecutor. On many occasions an initial plea offer
will be extended by the government at the first Pre-Trial Conference.
Except for the most unusual of circumstances, it is normally best not
to enter into a plea agreement at your first Pre-Trial Conference simply
because there has not been sufficient time to investigate your case to
develop a criminal defense strategy. Nor has there been sufficient time,
at the first Pre-Trial Conference, to really make a determination of the
strengths and weaknesses of the prosecutor's case. Most of the time,
especially in misdemeanor courts, you will probably want to have at least
three Pre-Trial Conferences (about 90 days) to allow for an appropriate
amount of time to consult with legal counsel. This should be sufficient
time to develop a Defense Investigation Outline, and to conduct a proper
defense investigation of your case. This process will allow you an opportunity
to identify the strongest
factual defenses available to you.
It should be noted that in some misdemeanor courts it is not normally necessary
for the accused to appear at the initial Pre-Trial Conferences with their
attorney. This is a matter which you should discuss with your attorney.
In felony court cases, the physical appearance of the accused is almost
Evidentiary Hearing is a contested hearing in front of a judge where the parties litigate
pre-trial issues. The most common issues litigated at an Evidentiary Hearing will be
procedural defense issues raised by the defense attorney seeking suppression of evidence,
or dismissal of the case. Other issues litigated at this stage can be
challenges to the evidence under the various Rules of Evidence. Normally
these types of arguments involve the parties litigating the admissibility,
at a later trial, of various pieces of evidence.
Settlement Conference is a formal conference which includes the prosecutor, your defense attorney,
you and the judge. The purpose of this hearing is for the judge to assist
the parties in litigation, in a collaborative manner, to try and resolve
the case on terms that are acceptable to all sides. A successful Settlement
Conference requires a comprehensive amount of preplanning to determine
what the defense strategy will be prior to entering into the formal conference.
Just as you would not walk into any important negotiation with no idea
of what your objectives are, you certainly do not want to walk into the
negotiating room of the Settlement Conference without having identified
your litigation objectives and goals. To prepare for the Settlement Conference
requires that you work with your attorney to define your litigation objectives
and goals. Experience has demonstrated that it is unlikely that you will
be in a position to effectively negotiate during the Settlement Conference
without first having conducted a comprehensive defense investigation into
the facts and circumstances of your individual case. Thus, by having an
attorney who has fully investigated your individual case you will be in
a position to leverage the factual, procedural and legal defenses that
you have previously identified during pre-trial preparation, thereby increasing
your chances for a successful outcome at your Settlement Conference.
If an acceptable negotiated settlement cannot be reached by all parties
at the Settlement Conference, the case will most likely be set for Trial
Management Conference, Trial and Sentencing (only if convicted at trial).
These hearings will be discussed in greater detail in a future blog posting.
The Firm handles all types of DUI cases in Scottsdale, whether you are
in Scottsdale City Court, one of the Scottsdale Justice Court Precincts,
or the Maricopa County Superior Court. Whether you have been charged with a
1st Time DUI,
Super Extreme DUI,
DUI-Drugs, or any other
Scottsdale DUI, the Firm can help. Mr. Buckallew has significant experience in defending
DUI cases and is a
Board Certified Criminal Specialist, having been certified by the State Bar of Arizona. Mr. Buckallew has
a proven track record in resolving DUI cases and has achieved trial acquittals,
dismissals, and favorable plea resolutions in countless cases over the
course of his career.
Contact the office for a free consultation in any pending DUI case in
Scottsdale or surrounding areas.
**This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not
create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not
be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact
the Firm to schedule a consultation regarding your case.
Copyright © 2011 Trent R. Buckallew, Attorney at Law The Law Offices
of Trent R. Buckallew, PC Arizona Criminal Defense Attorney