An aerial shot of downtown Reading, PA with the courthouse in the center

Status Hearings in Criminal Cases

If you are checking the docket in your criminal case, you may see something called a “Status Hearing.” These hearings are also sometimes referred to as “Call of the List” or occasionally “Disposition Dates.” These are all generally referring to the same thing, although different counties sometimes have distinctions between these different types of dates.

What is a status hearing?

In general, a status hearing is simply a date for the judge to check in with the prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and the criminal defendant on how the case is going and whether it will be resolved without trial. Much of the criminal justice system is geared toward being efficient and dispensing with unnecessary trials. Judges can sometimes use these dates to encourage the parties to reach a plea agreement. A prosecutor might be working in advance of this date with your defense attorney to determine an appropriate plea offer in your case. Of course, guilty pleas aren’t the only way to resolve criminal charges. Status dates also allow the judge to schedule omnibus pretrial motion hearings, to ask whether the prosecutor may nolle pros the case or to determine whether a diversionary program is a possibility.