What is an Omnibus Hearing, What Happens There?

The omnibus hearing is typically the first hearing after arraignment, one of three things happen at this hearing:

1)  A defendant changes his/her plea to guilty. 

2)  The hearing is reset or trial continued. (this happens for a variety of reasons). 

3) An omnibus order is entered and the case proceeds to trial as scheduled.  (sometimes the court sets a status hearing before the trial date to ensure that both sides are ready for trial.)

When an omnibus order is entered, both sides indicate to the court whether all information has been exchanged, if not what remains to be done.  The defendant informs the prosecutor what kind of defense will be used.  General denial is a typical defense, it is essentially the “prove it” defense.  Some defenses, such as insanity, require formal notification.  If either side has a motion that needs to be heard before the trial, the court will set a briefing schedule with a hearing date set after the briefs are filed.