What is a Rule 8 Hearing?
A Rule 8 Hearing is generally the second court appearance in Felony and Gross Misdemeanor cases. Some counties will not hold a Rule 8 Hearing unless you specifically request one. But if held, the hearing is meant to advise you of your rights for a second time. The court will also want to make sure you understand what the charges are against you and give you a chance to hire your own lawyer or apply for the public defender. If there is a complaint in your case, the court should make sure you have a copy of it. They can also modify any conditions of release in place, if requested.
At the Rule 8 Hearing, you can enter a plea of guilty if you wish. However, most people will advance their case to an Omnibus Hearing. Felony and Gross Misdemeanor charges are serious offenses that generally require a more in-depth case analysis. By advancing your case to an Omnibus Hearing, or Pre-Trial Hearing, you will have the opportunity to challenge issues, such as probable cause, search and seizure issues, and other evidentiary issues prior to any trial taking place. Also, most meaningful plea negotiations do not occur until at least the Omnibus Hearing in Felony and Gross Misdemeanor cases. Therefore, most people will simply appear at their Rule 8 Hearing and schedule a Pre-Trial Hearing or Omnibus Hearing depending on what the county you are in likes to call it.