Omnibus Hearing Law & Legal Definition


An omnibus hearing is a criminal pretrial hearing. Typically, disclosure of evidentiary matters, procedural, and constitutional issues are attempted to be resolved. Omnibus hearings are governed by state laws and local court rules, which vary by area.

The following is an example of a state law governing omnibus hearings:

Omnibus Hearing.

(1) At the omnibus hearing, the court, in counsel and defendant's presence--unless the defendant waives the right to be present-- must:

(A) ensure that, if required, counsel has been provided for the defendant;

(B) determine whether discovery is complete and, if not, make orders to expedite completion;

(C) determine whether there are requests for additional disclosures under Rule16;

(D) rule on any pending motion or request and determine whether any additional motion or request will be made at the hearing or a continued hearing;

(E) determine whether any procedural or constitutional issues exist;

(F) on agreement of counsel, or on a finding that the trial may be protracted or complex, schedule a pretrial conference under Rule 17.1(c); and

(G) on the defendant's request, permit a change of plea.

(2) Unless the court otherwise directs, any pretrial motion or request must be presented at the omnibus hearing. All issues presented at the omnibus hearing may be raised without prior notice by counsel or the court. If discovery, investigation, an evidentiary hearing, or a formal presentation is necessary for a fair determination of any issue, the omnibus hearing may be continued.

(3) Any pretrial motion, request or issue not raised at the omnibus hearing is waived, unless the party did not have the information necessary to make the motion or request or raise the issue.

(4) Stipulations by any party or party counsel will bind the parties at trial unless set aside or modified by the court in the interests of justice.

(5) A record must be made of all proceedings at the hearing indicating disclosures made, rulings and orders of the court, stipulations, and any other matters determined or pending.