The Focus of Preliminary Hearings
A preliminary hearing is usually held a short time after a criminal arraignment. In a preliminary hearing, the judge determines whether the defendant will be forced to stand trial on the criminal charges based on the evidence presented.
The judge uses the probable cause legal standard to make a determination at the preliminary hearing. Under this standard, there must be enough evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the accused crime or crimes.
If you have been arrested or charged with a crime and are preparing for a preliminary hearing, you may want to consider working with a criminal defense attorney. Connect today by filling out the free online evaluation form on this page or calling 877-445-1059.
During the Preliminary Hearing
Before reaching a decision at the preliminary hearing, the judge hears arguments from the prosecutor and defendant’s criminal defense lawyer. During the hearing, the prosecutor can present physical evidence and call witnesses to show the judge that the case should go to trial.
The defendant’s criminal defense lawyer will usually cross-examine the witnesses and dispute the validity of any evidence that the prosecution has presented. The defense lawyer’s goal is trying to convince the judge that the criminal case should be dismissed.
No Preliminary Hearings in Some Criminal Cases
In some criminal cases, there is no preliminary hearing. Some states have preliminary hearings only when the defendant is charged with a felony offense.
Other states use a grand jury indictment process in place of a preliminary hearing. If the criminal case is resolved through a plea bargain, there is generally no need for a hearing.
Connect with a Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are facing criminal charges and have an upcoming preliminary hearing, you may be nervous about the outcome. A criminal defense attorney can let you know what you might expect in court and will work to make sure that your criminal defense rights are protected.
If you want to find a lawyer who can evaluate your case and represent you at your preliminary hearing, call 877-445-1059 or fill out our free online evaluation form. Schedule a free, no obligation consultation today.