What Happens at a Settlement Conference?

Settlement conference.

What Happens at a Settlement Conference? 

Criminal cases in Arizona typically follow a similar pattern of steps within the case proceedings. However, not all cases will follow all steps, nor will all cases ultimately require going to trial. 

During a case, prior to a trial, a settlement conference may be set to discuss resolutions that could help a case be settled before needing to go to trial. A settlement conference may be ordered by the judge or requested by one of the parties. The conference will be set before a different judge than the one requesting. Settlement conferences occur more commonly in felony cases, rather than misdemeanors. 

Settlement conferences involve only the judge assigned to the conference, both parties (the defendant and plaintiff in a criminal case), and the attorney for each party. The judge is provided with general background information regarding the case in order to help support discussion but may only participate in discussions and negotiations with the consent of both parties involved in the case. 

Additionally, the judge may meet separately with both the defense attorney and the prosecutor to work through potential agreement negotiations. 

Often, settlement conferences aid in educating the defendant in the case proceedings and possible outcomes to allow them to be more amenable to an agreement. The victim is also able to express their views regarding the offense and the case. 

The goal of a settlement conference is to allow the parties to come to an acceptable and voluntary plea agreement. When this happens, a settlement document will be drafted and signed, and the case will not need to go to trial. The defendant will move directly to sentencing. 

If a settlement conference does not result in the parties settling, the judge may order an additional settlement conference to continue discussions or the case may proceed to trial. 



With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases. 

Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include: 

  • charges that are reduced or dropped. 
  • top experts reviewing your case. 
  • aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains. 
  • fines or probation in lieu of jail time. 

At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.  

Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328. 

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