Types of Hearings You Will Have

Terminology / Court Hearing Descriptions

  • 24 Hour (Probable Cause) – A preliminary hearing where the judge determines whether there is enough evidence that a crime was committed
  • Arraignment – A formal reading of a criminal complaint in the presence of the defendant to advise the defendant of the charges; the defendant enters a plea of guilty or not guilty, and the judge determines conditions of release
  • Decline – A hearing held in Juvenile Court where the judge determines that due to the seriousness of the offense, Juvenile Court will decline jurisdiction and the juvenile will be tried as an adult in Pierce County Superior Court
  • Omnibus Hearing – A hearing for the prosecuting attorney and the defense attorney to discuss pretrial matters pertaining to the case, including the admissibility of evidence obtained at the time of arrest
  • Pretrial Conference – An informal hearing held by the prosecuting attorney, the defense attorney and the defendant; In custody defendants will not appear in court
  • Readiness Hearing – A hearing set shortly before trial to determine whether the case is ready for trial
  • Sentencing – A sentencing hearing only occurs when the defendant has been found guilty, either by trial or by entering a guilty plea and judgment is imposed; a sentencing may include testimony by victims as well as witnesses on the defendant’s behalf
  • Shelter Care In dependency cases, a hearing to discuss placement of the child(ren) pending the outcome of the dependency
  • Trial – A formal proceeding where evidence and witnesses are presented and the defendant’s guilt is determined; the trier of fact may be a jury or a judge