Criminal Law – Preliminary Hearing

 you were charged with a felony and are going to trial, your
 next appearance will most likely be a preliminary hearing.
Many states use the Grand Jury indictment system. A preliminary
 hearing must he held soon after the arraignment date.

 some courts, there may be a conference scheduled prior to 
the preliminary hearing. This conference is a chance for
the prosecutor, your criminal defense lawyer and the judge
 to discuss Preliminary Hearing

The preliminary hearing is the first real opportunity for your
 attorney to refute the State’s evidence against you before
 going to trial. It is customary that the alleged victim not take the stand; rather, the police
 officer who took the report may take the stand and say what
 that victim would say if called to testify. At the preliminary
 hearing, the judge will determine whether or not there is
 probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed 
and if so, whether or not the defendant committed that crime.

 standard of proof at a preliminary hearing is quite low 
and it is unusual to win outright at the preliminary hearing.
 Rather, your criminal defense lawyer will use the preliminary
 hearing to lock down the testimony of key witnesses and
 determine inconsistencies and weaknesses in the prosecution’s case.


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