What is a pretrial conference?
A pretrial conference is an appointment for you to discuss your case with a representative from the Uintah County Attorney’s Office, the agency which is prosecuting your case. The County Attorney, or one of the Deputy County Attorneys, is the lawyer for the State of Utah or Uintah County against you.
Why does the court set pretrial conferences?
Often, cases can be settled without having a trial. At times, the prosecutor recommends a case be dismissed. Other times the State may agree to drop other charges in exchange for a guilty or no contest plea to one or more charges. The State may also recommend a plea to an offense which is less serious. The pretrial process helps make sure that only those cases in which there is no other resolution available are set for trial. This process enables the Court’s time and resources, as well as yours, to be used wisely.
The Uintah County Attorney or a Deputy Uintah County Attorney will be available to speak to you one-on-one about your case. If you have hired your own lawyer, or if one has been appointed for you, your lawyer will accompany you.
At all critical stages of your case, you have the right to be represented by a lawyer. You may hire a lawyer to help you with any type of case; however your right to have a public defender paid for you by Uintah County is limited. If there is no possibility of a jail sentence if you are convicted, there is no right to a court appointed lawyer. You must also financially qualify for a public defender. You should ask a clerk or the judge at your first appearance in court for more information about obtaining a lawyer.
Where do I go for my pretrial conference?
On the date & time you have been given, you need to report to the courtroom assigned for that day or such other location directed to by court personnel. After a “roll call”, the County Attorney’s Office representative will call your name & you will accompany the prosecutor to an area outside the courtroom.
Should I bring anything (or anybody) to my pretrial conference?
If you have obtained the services of a lawyer, your lawyer will inform you whether or not you must personally attend the pretrial. If you do not have an attorney, you must attend your pretrial. It is not necessary to bring witnesses or documents with you, but you may if you wish. In cases involving driver’s licenses, it may be helpful for you to bring along any papers you may be able to obtain to show that your license or privilege to drive was not denied, disqualified, suspended or revoked on the date you received the ticket. In cases of missing insurance or registration, you may bring papers showing you are now (or were at the time) insured or registered.
What happens after my pretrial?
After you finish speaking with the prosecutor what you do next depends on whether or not an agreeable solution was made to your charges.
(1) If no agreement was made, you need to go back into the courtroom and when the prosecutor is telling the Judge of the results of the pretrials, a date for trial will be assigned to you.
(2) If the prosecutor believes the State cannot prove to the Judge that you are guilty of the offense(s), a request to dismiss may be made. The prosecutor will tell you whether or not you should return to the courtroom. The Judge usually grants the State’s request for dismissal.
(3) Sometimes the prosecutor will agree to reduce the seriousness of the charge or dismiss some charges if you plead to other charges. You will need to go back into the courtroom if a plea arrangement is made so the Judge can take your plea.
I missed my pretrial date. Now what?
If an emergency has prevented you from attending your pretrial and you could not notify the Clerk’s Office at least 2 days before the scheduled date, the Judge, under some circumstances, may consider resetting your pretrial. As a general rule, pretrials are not rescheduled and you will be notified of your trial date. You may, on your own, contact the Uintah County Attorney’s Office and ask to discuss your case any time prior to the date set for trial. The sooner you attempt to contact the Court and/or the County Attorney’s Office after you miss your pretrial date, the better. If you fail to attend your pretrial and do not contact the Clerk’s Office, a warrant may be issued for your arrest for your failure to appear. Any bail you may have posted to get out of jail may be kept by the Court.
The Uintah County Justice Court presents the information on this web site as a service to the public. We have tried to ensure that the information contained in these electronic documents is accurate. The Uintah County Justice Court makes no warranty or guarantee concerning the accuracy or reliability of the content at this site or at other sites to which we link. Assessing the accuracy and reliability of the information is the responsibility of the user. The Uintah County Justice Court shall not beliable for errors contained herein or for any damages in connection with the use of the information contained herein. This web site is meant to provide basic information about the pretrial procedures used by the Uintah County Justice Court. The information is not legal advice about your particular situation and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you still have questions, please phone the Clerk’s Office or seek the advice of your own lawyer.