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Last Opportunity to Settle Your DUI Case
The final pretrial, sometimes called a settlement conference, is the last time for the defense attorney and prosecutor to meet before setting the matter for either a jury trial or bench trial. This is when all the pretrial preparation, evidentiary motions, and information gathering from the client converge and the most amount of leverage available is brought to bear upon the prosecutors. They understand that everyone, even in a Michigan DUI case, is innocent until proven guilty and they carry the burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. If you do not think this is stressful for them, think again.
Prosecutors Feel Stress at a Final Pretrial Too
We have been prosecutors or worked in a prosecutors office, and that is a heavy weight to bear when every piece of evidence will be scrutinized, questioned, challenged, and fought in front of a judge or jury. Add to that the fact that the officer will be on the stand and subject to cross examination by a skilled trial attorney. A key strategy can be to question the officer about things that were NOT done and then stressing that to a judge or jury.
Go in Fully Prepared for Trial
A word of caution about the final pretrial…you cannot go into a final pretrial unprepared to deal with evidentiary issues and witness issues. This is a very quick way to get your evidentiary challenges barred. Many attorneys try to delay the trial at this stage, but all of the preparation should have already been handled. One of the main reasons why this is so important? The Supreme Court Administrators Office. This body has determined that judges must fast track drunk driving cases and they should be heard within 77 days of the initial arraignment. If a case goes beyond this date, the judges get put on a “list” with the state and may have to answer to the administrative body as to where the case is and why it is taking longer than mandated.
The bottom line is that you and your attorney must be fully prepared to go to either a bench or jury trial at the final pretrial or settlement conference to maximize any leverage you may have to negotiate a favorable resolution to your case.