For the first time in nearly five months, Chris Soules appeared in court on Thursday, according to Entertainment Tonight. The Season 19 Bachelor star reportedly attended a pre-trial hearing that lasted only five minutes. ET also reported that he did not say a word during the meeting. His official trial is slated for January 2018, according to People. (Bustle reached out to Soules' attorney, but did not receive an immediate response.)
As fans may recall, Soules was arrested for allegedly fleeing the scene of a deadly car crash back in April after his truck reportedly crashed into the tractor of Kenneth Mosher. At the time, the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office confirmed the arrest to Bustle. After the 911 call from the accident was released soon after, Soules' lawyer released the following statement to Bustle:
"While initial reports suggested Soules fled the scene, the 911 call confirms that Soules in fact was the one who contacted law enforcement immediately. During the call, he clearly identified himself and explained his role in the terrible accident. Soules attempted to resuscitate Mr. Mosher and remained on the scene with him until emergency medical personnel arrived."
In this latest court meeting, the defense and prosecution reportedly came to an agreement, which would withdraw the motion of bills in particular, according to People. In other words, the statement would change regarding the trial information that currently exists, though People notes the charge would essentially be the same.
According to E! News, Soules attorneys are still pursuing a dismissal of the charge. (Bustle also asked his lawyer about this claim, but did not receive an immediate response.) Per E!'s report, if convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, he could receive up to a a five-year jail sentence. Back in May, Soules pled not guilty to this felony charge.
It was also in May that an Iowa judge denied Soules' lawyers' initial motion to dismiss the charge against him. His legal team reportedly used the 911 call as evidence that Soules had tried calling for help after the crash. He also reportedly attempting to check the pulse of 66-year-old Mosher, who later died after being transported to the hospital. Mosher had been on the tractor during the accident. However, there appears to be a discrepancy over whether Soules stayed on-scene until first responders arrived.
It's worth noting that in June 2017, the defense's legal team filed court documents showing that Soules had no alcohol or drugs in his system at the time of the accident, People reported. Bustle also received a copy of those court documents, which read, "According to a report issued by the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation’s (DCI) Criminalistics Laboratory, Mr. Soules’ specimens were negative for drugs and alcohol."
As for what happens next, Soules is expected to appear in court again next month for a hearing for the motion to dismiss the chage, according to KWWL, an NBC affiliate. His actual trial, scheduled for January, is expected to last four to five days, per KWWL.
Through it all, Soules' team seems intent on avoiding letting any gossip get out of hand. As his rep told Bustle back in a May statement,
"Neither Mr. Soules nor his legal counsel will be responding to the numerous tabloid style articles and journalists who have been reporting false and misleading stories by citing 'unnamed sources.' Rather, they will be focusing on presenting the truth, which will reveal how inaccurate and unfair so many of these news accounts have been. We are confident that the fair-minded citizens of Iowa will do what they’ve always done – reserve judgment until all of the accurate information is properly presented."