What Happens During a Preliminary Hearing?

Even if you have previously faced drug charges or other charges, you may be a little unsure of what to expect from the legal process . When you meet with your defense lawyer near Columbus, he or she can explain your upcoming preliminary hearing. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is for a judge to determine if there is probable cause that a criminal offense has occurred and that there is a reasonable suspicion that you have committed it. Preliminary hearings are rarely granted in the state court system. Instead, the case is either dismissed for a future indictment or already indicted which means a preliminary hearing will not occur. However, preliminary hearings frequently occur in federal court.

As you’ll learn by listening to the defense attorney in this video, a preliminary hearing is an opportunity for the prosecutor and for your criminal defense attorney to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case. This expert also discusses the differences between a preliminary hearing and a trial, such as differences regarding the burden of proof and types of evidence that might be used. It is possible for a judge to reduce charges or drop them entirely at a preliminary hearing.