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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 individual under supervision through interviews and record checks. The pretrial services officer reports the information to the judge, so the judge can decide whether the individual under supervision can be released on pretrial supervision or should be detained.

At a detention hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to grant pretrial release. If the individual under supervision is granted pretrial release, the pretrial services officer will supervise the individual 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.

Pretrial supervision ends if the individual under supervision is found not guilty at trial or the charges are dropped against him or her. If the individual under supervision is found guilty or pleads guilty, the pretrial services officer will typically continue supervising the individual until their sentence begins. Pretrial supervision may last from a few months up to a year or more, during which time a probation officer may start the individual's presentence investigation.