In a DWI case, the omnibus hearing is usually the middle step. Most matters start with an arraignment, which is where you learn the charges against you and are advised of your rights in a criminal proceeding. After arraignment, most courts will set an omnibus hearing, which is sometimes called a pretrial hearing in misdemeanor cases. The name “omnibus hearing” means that all pretrial matters are together at this time. There are not separate hearings to challenge the evidence, then probable cause, then constitutional violations. Instead, everything is heard together, usually at the same time.
In a DWI, there are many common pretrial challenges that can occur at an omnibus hearing. Usually, if specific issues are not raised, they may be waived, and you might not be able to raise them later. So, it is important that you have an experienced DWI attorney to help review the evidence and raise potential challenges. Some challenges that can be raised include:
There are a variety of challenges that can be raised. The specific challenges will be based on the facts of the case, and the legal principles that guide a DWI stop, arrest, and prosecution.
A contested omnibus hearing occurs when the parties disagree on a challenge, and evidence or argument are needed to address the issue. For some challenges, written reports and documents will establish the record. For other challenges, though, live testimony from the officers and others may be required to explore the facts relevant to the particular challenge. The attorneys may also request oral argument, and the court may want the opportunity to ask attorneys questions about legal arguments. These usually occur at a contested omnibus hearing as opposed to a standard omnibus hearing. At a contested hearing, time is set to have evidence and arguments heard. At a standard omnibus hearing, many cases are usually put on the calendar to determine which ones require a contested hearing, and which others can proceed forward.
After the omnibus hearing, the court rules on pretrial challenges. If the defense wins some, it could result in the exclusion of evidence necessary to prove the criminal charges. In those circumstances, the case is usually dismissed. Also, some helpful, but not essential evidence can be excluded. Often, this will result in a more favorable plea offer or the chance to prevail at trial.
If a case is not resolved at the omnibus stage, then it will proceed to the trial phase. The parties will set hearings to address trial issues and prepare to have a trial. At trial, a jury or judge would hear the facts related to the criminal charges and render a verdict.
If you have an upcoming DWI Omnibus Hearing, make sure that you have good legal representation from a Minnesota DWI attorney. You’ll want to make sure that available challenges are raised and defenses are asserted. With a Minnesota DWI attorney you can improve your chances to have an effective defense and seek a favorable result.