Criminal charges are serious and come with strict penalties. Therefore, parties go through a specific trial process before receiving a charge.
The first part of that process is the omnibus hearing, or pretrial. There are a few key elements of this process that parties should be aware of.
Show of probable cause
Establishing probable cause is essential to the omnibus hearing process. To achieve this, the state must show that there is a chance that the defendant committed the crime. Parties should note that the argument does not have to show that the defendant definitely did the crime. Usually, the state will show this with certain evidence, and if the defendant wants to try to challenge the charge at this point, they must show that the evidence is false or present additional evidence showing that they are innocent.
Challenges provide the defending party a chance to get certain pieces of evidence and information omitted from the case. If the collection of the evidence or presentation of it violates the defendant's rights, it is possible to challenge it. A knowledgeable attorney is very beneficial during this process. A strong understanding of the law helps them to successfully assert challenges and somewhat shape the evidence that is involved in the case.
The omnibus hearing culminates with the case either reaching a resolution or going to trial. The court considers all of the evidence in order to make the decision, in accordance with North Dakota's or Minnesota's omnibus laws. In some cases, the state may offer a plea deal to resolve the matter. In such cases, both sides must agree and formalize it in writing, after which the judge reviews and signs off on it.
These are the key elements of an omnibus hearing, but the process is very complex. It is important that parties involved fully understand what the process entails and prepare themselves appropriately, so that they may reach a positive conclusion.