July 21, 2023 | Criminal Law
The judicial process can be confusing if you or a loved one is accused of a crime in Lexington, Kentucky. Status hearings play an essential part in this process and have great significance when advancing criminal cases.
Before exploring them in detail, keep in mind that the terms “status hearing” and “pretrial conference” may be used interchangeably in court settings. While these events may have some differences in substance or procedure depending on the jurisdiction, in essence, both terms refer to scheduled court appearances used to manage and track the progress of a criminal case.
What Is the Purpose of a Status Hearing?
A status hearing ultimately serves as a date for the court to inquire about the progress of a case.
During this time, any of the following may take place:
The defendant may enter a guilty plea: At a status hearing, the defendant may have the chance to enter a plea. If they enter a guilty plea, it means they admit to committing the crime. This can lead to immediate sentencing or the scheduling of another court date for sentencing.
Discovery can be discussed: During this hearing, both parties can discuss discovery. Discovery is when both sides share their evidence with each other before going to trial. Points about what information has been exchanged, or any issues relating to disclosure, can be discussed at a status hearing.
Scheduling of future hearings: Judges may also schedule motion hearings or set other dates related to the case. A motion in a criminal case is a formal request made to the judge. It asks for an order or ruling about specific issues in the case. Examples can include asking to reduce bail, suppress evidence, or dismiss charges.
Nolle Pros: In some cases, a prosecutor will nolle pros the case. A nolle pros in a criminal case means the prosecutor has decided not to continue with the charges against you and makes a motion to withdraw charges. This can occur at any time before a verdict is reached. It usually happens when the prosecutor believes there’s not enough evidence to proceed or witnesses are unavailable, among other reasons.
Diversion programs: These are programs designed to keep offenders out of the traditional criminal justice system. Often aimed at first-time or low-risk individuals, these initiatives offer rehabilitation or restitution rather than punishment. Program types may include education, therapy, community service activities, and more.
At a status hearing, the prosecutor may be willing to discuss diversion programs with the defense to see if they can resolve the matter without going to trial. Not only can this help save court time and resources, but it also provides the accused an opportunity for rehabilitation.
A trial date will be set: If a plea deal is not reached and no pretrial motions will be filed, the judge may set a trial date during the status hearing.
Preparing for a Status Hearing in Lexington, Kentucky
When attending a status hearing, the accused should keep these points in mind:
- Be punctual: Always arrive on time for a status hearing. It shows respect towards the court and allows you to be ready when your case is called.
- Dress appropriately: Wearing suitable attire is important for a hearing. Choose clean, conservative clothes like you would wear for a job interview or business meeting. Avoid casual clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers to show respect towards the court proceedings. Your appearance can impact how seriously you are taken in court.
- Properly address the judge: When speaking to the judge, use proper titles like “Your Honor.” Show respect by standing up while addressing them unless told otherwise.
- Communicate with your lawyer: Maintain an open dialogue with your Lexington criminal defense lawyer so you know what to expect during the status hearing, the consequences of any decisions made, and the best strategy for moving forward.
As you can see, a status hearing is a crucial stage in the judicial process. If you have any questions, contact a Lexington criminal defense attorney
Contact the Lexington Criminal Case at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507