Can You Go to Jail at a Pre-Trial Conference in Utah?

An important part of any criminal proceeding in court is something called a pre-trial conference. When you are charged with a crime, one of the first meetings between you and the judge, as well as the prosecution, may happen at a pre-trial conference. These conferences are generally administrative in nature, but they are also used to check and see if the defendant is doing what they are supposed to do. For that reason, many defendants believe that a pre-trail conference may lead to their arrest and, naturally, do not wish to attend them.

This could not be further from the truth. There is virtually no risk of getting arrested at a pre-trial conference unless you do something illegal at the conference. So long as you behave appropriately, follow the rules of the court, and do not do anything that would get you arrested on its own in the first place, you will not be arrested at a pre-trial conference. In fact, under many circumstances, you may not have to attend at all, and a lawyer can go in your stead.

For help with your case, call the Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers at Overson Law at the number (801) 758-2287 to get a free case review.

What is a Pre-Trial Conference?

A pre-trial conference is nothing more than a meeting between the prosecutor, the judge, and you, as well as your Riverton criminal defense lawyers, during the course of a case before trial. The main purpose of a pre-trial conference is to make sure that trial proceedings stay on track. In fact, the goal of many of these conferences is to make sure that the lawyers are doing their jobs preparing the case and have nothing to do with the conduct of the defendant. You may not even need to show up to pre-trial conferences that have to do with lawyerly matters, although it may still be a good idea.

An important thing to note is that pre-trial conferences happen after bail hearings. This means that the court has already decided if you are fit to be free in the community before trial or not. If the judge decided that you were a risk, you would already be in jail and could not get arrested again at a pre-trial conference. Because it has already been decided whether you need to be in jail or not, you are not going to be arrested at a pre-trial conference unless you do something new at the conference that makes an arrest appropriate.

Can I get Arrested at a Pre-Trial Conference?

You cannot be sent to jail merely by attending a pre-trial conference. In fact, you run a greater risk of going to jail if you don’t attend. However, if you are not following terms or instructions that have been laid out for you prior to a conference, like bail requirements, you may be arrested because of bail term violations, not because you attended a pre-trial conference.

Bench Warrant

If a judge has asked for you to show up at a pre-trial conference and neither you nor your lawyer are there, the prosecution can ask for, and the court will likely give, what is called a “bench warrant.” This is a warrant that allows police to arrest you wherever they find you. In fact, many people do not find out they have a bench warrant until they have a mundane interaction with the police, like a speeding ticket, and then it comes to the officer’s attention that there is a bench warrant for the defendant.

To avoid this, make sure that you know whether you are meant to be at a pre-trial conference in person, whether our lawyers can be there in your stead, or whether you need to show up at all. There are some pre-trial conferences where attendance may be helpful but not mandatory. This is determined by the judge depending on how they view each unique case.

Admitting to an Additional Crime

One thing that could lead to an arrest at a pre-trial conference is if you admit to committing another crime during the conference. For example, if you are being accused of stealing from someone’s house and casually say that you “had a little to drink” when you got into the getaway car, the prosecution can bring up the fact that you just admitted to drunk driving in the pre-trial conference, and they can request that you be arrested for that offense, not for the matter the pre-trail conference is for.

Violation of Bail Terms

Another way that an arrest can result from a pre-trail conference is if you are not in compliance with your bail terms. One of the reasons that bail can be denied is that the defendant is considered dangerous to the community, but there are other reasons that bail can be denied as well. For example, if the defendant is a “flight risk,” meaning that they are likely to flee from the justice system and avoid prosecution. Judges will accept bail when they believe that the defendant will show up in court and is not a danger to the community. However, in many cases, the judge will attach terms to bail, such as not committing any other crime – even a minor infraction – before trial. If you violate bail terms by committing a minor crime or taking other action that the judge has prohibited, the prosecution can ask that your bail be revoked, and then you will have to stay in jail until trial. If, on the other hand, you follow all of the bail instructions, you will not be arrested.

Call Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

Call our West Jordan criminal defense lawyers from Overson Law at (801) 758-2287 to get a free case analysis.