Pre-Trial Hearing

Pretrial Hearings (sometimes called Pretrial Conferences) are a time for your defense attorney to speak to the prosecution (police prosecutor, assistant district attorney, or assistant attorney general) about your case, to file and argue motions, and to explore possible resolutions of the case. Your attorney will have the opportunity to speak with the prosecutor to determine whether this matter can be resolved short of trial and whether the Commonwealth has enough evidence to proceed against you at trial.

Motions and Options

At the pre-trial hearing, your attorney may file a pre-trial conference report and possibly additional discovery motions, requesting the Commonwealth to provide additional pieces of discovery or information not otherwise noted in the police report. Motions can be filed for 911 tapes, interviews, information about possible witnesses, photographs, medical records, and any other evidence that the prosecution may have in its possession or plan on using at trial.

Pretrial hearings are a date during which an attorney can file discovery motions (“discovery” refers to evidence in the case), motions to dismiss, and motions to suppress.

Massachusetts Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 sets forth the procedures for pretrial hearings and pretrial conferences.

Pre-Trial Hearings are Important

It may seem like not a lot happens as a pre-trial hearing. However, it is the time to start demanding and obtaining evidence helpful to your defense, explore and test the commonwealth’s (District Attorney or Attorney General) evidence, and to develop defense strategies and file motions including motions to dismiss and motions to suppress