Pretrial is the time period after an individual has been arrested but before they have been convicted of a crime. During this time period, a pretrial services officer will gather information about the defendant through interviews and record checks. The pretrial services officer reports the information to the judge, so the judge can decide whether the defendant can be released on pretrial supervision or should be detained.
At a detention hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant pretrial release. If the defendant is granted pretrial release, the pretrial services officer will supervise the defendant to ensure they are not a danger to another person or the community, the conditions of their release are met, and they attend all required court hearings. If the individual is placed on pretrial services supervision, please see Supervision.
Pretrial supervision ends if the defendant is found not guilty at trial or the charges are dropped against him or her. If the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty, the pretrial services officer will typically continue supervising the defendant until their sentence begins. Pretrial supervision usually lasts 6 – 12 months, possibly longer depending on the circumstances of the case. During this time a probation officer may start the defendant's presentence investigation.