What is a Preliminary Hearing? | Newport Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer

June 27, 2016

When arrested for a felony offense in California, you have the right to a preliminary hearing within 10 court days from the date of your arraignment. Normally, your criminal defense attorney will continue the hearing date to request additional discovery and investigate the case further.

A preliminary hearing is usually a short hearing where the prosecutor holds the burden to prove to the judge that there is enough probable cause to withstand the charges against you. The government need not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the crime(s) alleged against you.

To put it another way, the hearing is designed to show the judge that there is sufficient evidence against you to warrant the charge(s).

Sometimes your lawyer can put on an affirmative defense to the charge(s) by calling witnesses or disclosing evidence to negate an element of the charge(s). Oftentimes, defense lawyers will not assert an affirmative defense and hold from disclosing a potential defense for later on in the case or at trial.

If the judge determines that there is sufficient evidence to withstand the charge(s) against you, the judge will “hold you to answer.” Afterward, unless you waive your right, you will be re-arraigned on the information in the trial court.

For more information about preliminary hearings, contact Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer John Rogers at the Law Offices of John Rogers.

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