What is a Preliminary Hearing

February 4, 2013 MDRM Blog,MDRM BLOG 0 Comment

A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in Cal­i­for­nia is a hear­ing to deter­mine if there is prob­a­ble cause to hold a defen­dant over to answer for felony charges.  A defen­dant is not enti­tled to a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in mis­de­meanor charges only.  This hear­ing is held before a judge.  The pros­e­cu­tion is rep­re­sented by the Dis­trict Attorney’s Office and the defen­dant is rep­re­sented by Defense Coun­sel.  The bur­den of proof at a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing is on the pros­e­cu­tor.  The pros­e­cu­tor must show that there is suf­fi­cient prob­a­ble cause to hold the defen­dant over to answer for the felony charges.  Prob­a­ble cause is defined as a state of facts as would lean a man or ordi­nary care and pru­dence to believe and con­sci­en­tiously enter­tain an hon­est and strong sus­pi­cion that the per­son is guilty of a crime.

Upon the con­clu­sion of a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing the judge can hold the defen­dant over to answer for all, some or none of the charges.  If the judge holds the defen­dant over for all or some of the charges, the case will pro­ceed to the pre-trial stage.


The infor­ma­tion does not con­sti­tute legal advice.  There could be addi­tional fac­tors involv­ing your case.  You should con­sult with an attor­ney before act­ing upon any of the infor­ma­tion con­tained in this blog.  Addi­tion­ally, this does not cre­ate an attorney-client rela­tion­ship with the Law Office of DeDecker & Meltzer LLP.


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None of the infor­ma­tion on this site con­sti­tutes legal advice. It is an ad for attor­ney ser­vices. The attor­neys at DeDecker & Meltzer are licensed attor­neys in the state of Cal­i­for­nia. The infor­ma­tion is intended to be gen­eral in nature as there are many laws and reg­u­la­tions not men­tioned on this site that may apply to your sit­u­a­tion.