If 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.
In 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.
The 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.