Going into a preliminary hearing can feel like a chaotic and difficult period in your life. You may not even know where to start when it comes to preparing for one.
The first step is understanding the basics of a preliminary hearing. From there, the rest of the process will often seem much more manageable.
Defining preliminary hearings
Going through the process of a criminal case can feel confusing, but understanding the preliminary hearing aspect is relatively simple.
First, what is a preliminary hearing? This is like a mini-trial, in which the prosecution can introduce evidence and call on witnesses, while the defense can cross-examine them. The overall purpose of this hearing is to determine if a crime was actually committed, and whether or not the defendant was involved.
However, the defense cannot object to the use of certain evidence. It is common for evidence to get presented at preliminary hearings that could not be shown in trial to a jury. If the judge believes the evidence shows probable cause of the defendant’s involvement in the crime, the case will go forward to trial.
Preparing for your hearing
To prepare for a preliminary hearing, you should discuss your case with a legal representative. Build a defense strategy that tells your side of the story. Finally, prepare yourself for any possible outcome. Even if you have strong defense, you need to have back-up plans for unexpected situations that may crop up and could potentially damage your case.
In preparing by arming yourself with knowledge and having strong legal support, you can face a preliminary hearing.