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Step 5 - Pretrial Conference

Next is the pretrial conference. Generally, the defendant and his/her lawyer and the DA will appear before the judge assigned to the case.

At this time, the defendant may plead guilty, or plead not guilty and if so, ask for a jury or non-jury trial.

Sometimes a defendant and the prosecution can work out an agreement that resolves the criminal matter, called a plea bargain. Usually, the DA agrees to reduce a charge, drop some of multiple charges or recommend a lighter sentence in exchange for the defendant's guilty plea, often to a less serious offense.

If you are the victim of a crime in which an offender was arrested, you are not required to attend the pretrial conference.