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Early plea negotiations process

Learn more about the Early Plea Unit (EPU) stage of a case and what to expect before, during, and after moving to trial.

The Early Plea Unit (EPU) stage is where the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) negotiates its cases. This “pre-trial track” is when we look at other options including:

  • Reductions
  • Alternative programs (such as Drug Diversion Court and Regional Mental Health Court)
  • Mitigation information
  • Equitable considerations

After the pre-trial track, a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney (DPA) may decide to reduce or dismiss charges. Evidence must be strong to prove the charge. A supervisor must approve the reduced charge.

Moving to trial

EPU negotiations, outstanding plea offers, or recommendation offers end once your case enters the next phase, the "trial track." This also includes if it's sent to a trial supervisor or DPA.

A case moving to the "trial track" includes:

  1. At arraignment, cases are set for a Pre-Trial Omnibus hearing at 1 pm (Monday through Thursday) 4 weeks (28 days) before the trial date. A case can continue in the “pre-trial track” by setting a new trial date with a Pre-Trial Omnibus hearing at 1 pm (Monday through Thursday) 6 weeks (42 days) before the new trial date.
    • All cases with Omnibus hearings set on Monday through Thursday at 1 pm are presumed to be “pre-trial” and are presumed to be eligible for EPU negotiations.
  2. A case moves to the "trial track" with a set Omnibus Hearing at 8:30 am on a Friday (or a different morning calendar if the Court is closed on that week’s Friday). At that point, the case transfers to a trial supervisor or trial DPA.
    • Additionally, regardless of whether the case is set for a “pre-trial” or “trial track” Omnibus, an EPU DPA may decide to end negotiations and transfer the case to a trial supervisor or trial DPA.

When a case is moved to the “trial track,” or the EPU DPA terminates negotiations, it then goes to a trial supervisor or trial deputy. The supervisor of the trial DPA may provide a written exception via email to extend any EPU offers.


We try to provide all discovery for the defense that is available at the time of filing or that becomes available thereafter. We are unable to provide redacted discovery with our limited early plea staff. If the defendant requests a copy of redacted discovery, the early plea negotiator stops negotiations. A trial deputy receives the case to continue.