In Felony and Gross Misdemeanor cases, the Omnibus Hearing is the first time the court will ask you for a plea of guilty or not guilty. Before you do so, a plea offer is generally made for you to consider. Sometimes, these plea negotiations happen on the day of your Omnibus Hearing. Other times, an offer is made in advance of the hearing so that you have time to consider it before the hearing takes place.

By the time your Omnibus Hearing takes place, discovery is usually complete. This includes all the evidence the prosecution has against you, such as police reports, audio, video, and any other physical evidence they may have. As the defendant in the case, you have a right to view all of this evidence. It is important that you and your lawyer review the evidence, so that your lawyer may determine whether any motions should be filed in advance of the Omnibus Hearing.

Motions made prior to the Omnibus Hearing may include challenges to probable cause for the charge(s) against you. Search and seizure issues are also a popular motion at this stage, including the basis for the cops to pull you over if you were stopped driving a motor vehicle or the grounds for law enforcement to search your person, car, or home. The admissibility of statements may also be challenged along with any other constitutional or evidentiary issues. Importantly, if a motion is filed at this point in your case, then the court will usually schedule a Contested Omnibus Hearing for your motion to be heard. Some courts will call it an Evidentiary Hearing or Motion Hearing. Regardless of what the court names the hearing, the purpose of the hearing is for your motion to be heard.

If you ultimately plead guilty at your Omnibus Hearing, then the court may sentence you at the same time or may schedule a Sentencing Hearing at a later date. If you enter a plea of not guilty at your Omnibus Hearing and you do not file any motions challenging issues such as the ones described above, then the court will likely schedule a Jury Trial date and potentially a Settlement Conference to precede it.

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