If you’re charged in state court with a felony crime, you likely have the right to a preliminary hearing.
What is a preliminary hearing?
A preliminary hearing is one of the first steps in a criminal case and is a smaller version of a trial. The hearing is in front of a judge instead of a jury. The purpose of this hearing is to determine if there is probable cause that a crime occurred. Probable cause is a much lower standard of proof than the standard of proof required at trial, which is beyond a reasonable doubt.
What to expect at a preliminary hearing
The hearing is a brief court appearance with the judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, and defendant present.
The prosecutor will call in a few witnesses to determine whether there is enough evidence to show that the case should proceed to trial. While this is not the full jury trial list, there are select witnesses which will testify.
Advantages of preliminary hearings
There are many advantages to moving forward with a preliminary hearing. This hearing is a great opportunity for the defendant to learn what evidence is against them.
Additionally, the defendant and defense attorney will find out what evidence in the case will look like at the trial.
In some cases, witnesses will make mistakes during the preliminary hearing and as a result, those statements can be used against them at the jury trial.
You have the right to a competent lawyer that will fight for your rights
If you’re facing a felony criminal charge in a state court, you are entitled to representation from a competent defense attorney.
Koop Law Firm represents clients facing a variety of criminal charges such as violent crimes, property crimes, DUI & drug crimes, traffic offenses, and more.
If you need representation at your preliminary hearing, contact former prosecutor, Jeremy D. Koop today.
The information provided in this article does not constitute legal advice; it is for general informational purposes only.