Pretrial Conference

Pretrial ConferenceAbout Criminal Pretrial Conferences
By San Diego Criminal Attorneys

A Pretrial Conference is an informal hearing where both the defense and the prosecution meet with the judge and discuss case status.

It is often referred to as a “readiness conference” because the parties must tell the judge whether they are “ready” for trial or whether more time is needed.

Defendant’s Opportunity to Persuade

The Pretrial Conference is the defendant’s first opportunity to persuade the court to see the case from the defendant’s point of view.  The defense can present evidence gathered by the defense team, mitigating evidence, and legal arguments in favor of the defense in order to persuade the government to dismiss the case or significantly reduce the charges.  A skilled defense attorney can use this hearing as an opportunity to gain favor with both the court and the prosecutor and get an advantage in the case.

Common Issues

Also, the hearing is an opportunity to discuss many of the issues in the case that are likely to be disputed in the future.  These issues include discovery disputes, defendant’s constitutional rights, potential “bad behavior” on the part of law enforcement, motions (requests) that the defendant plans on bringing before the court, mitigating factors in the case, and legal defenses.

Plea Bargaining

Many cases settle at the Pretrial Conference.  This is because a big part of the Pretrial Conference is plea bargaining with the government and their attorneys.  The defense attorney’s role is to skillfully negotiate with the government to persuade them to dismiss or significantly reduce the charges to held the defendant avoid potential negative consequences of a conviction.

How to get an Advantageous Plea Bargain?

Our attorneys use the power of strategic negotiation when discussing the case with the government at a Pretrial Conference.  We know what persuades the District Attorney and Judge to agree to an advantageous plea bargain for the defense.  This includes items of mitigation, valid legal defenses, defense litigation issues, and the defense’s chances of achieving an outright acquittal at trial.

Legal Defense

Prosecutors are human.  When determining how to plea bargain a case, one of their main concerns is whether there is a good legal defense to the charges and allegations.  A smart, prepared attorney can help the defendant build a legal defense by conducting an investigation with a private investigator, hiring various forensic experts, and digging up dirt on the prosecution’s witnesses.  If the prosecutor believes at the Pretrial Conference that he is going to lose the trial, he or she is more likely to dismiss the charges or significantly reduce the charges.


Prosecutors can be moved to agree to an advantageous plea bargain if they believe the defendant deserves leniency.  In almost every criminal case, our law firm asks the defendant for a mitigation packet.  A mitigation packet includes evidence that shows the defendant deserves leniency.  This includes character letters, employment records, school grades, proof of payment of restitution, proof that defendant took remedial measures after the incident, and other factors.  These items can be shown to the government at the Pretrial Conference and often times result in an advantageous plea bargain or dismissal of all charges and allegations.

Learn More …

A Pretrial Conference is an opportunity to get a dismissal or significant reduction on all charges and allegations lodged against you.  Our attorneys have conducted countless Pretrial Conferences on behalf of clients and have achieved many fantastic results for our clients.

If you or a loved one are currently facing criminal charges, and would like to discuss it one-on-one with a San Diego Criminal Attorney, contact The Hullinger Firm, PC at 619-708-2073 for a free & confidential consultation.

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Scott Hullinger, Esq.

Scott Hullinger, Esq.

Criminal and Civil Attorney