What is Preliminary Hearing?

The preliminary hearing is an intense and pivotal legal proceeding held before a trial that examines whether there is enough evidence to continue with the case.

This is where the rubber meets the road, and the prosecution must present evidence and witnesses to establish that a crime was committed and that the defendant is the perpetrator. The defense, in turn, has the opportunity to challenge the prosecution's case with their evidence and by cross-examining the witnesses.

The preliminary hearing is not an easy walk in the park for either party, as the stakes are high. If the prosecution is successful in presenting sufficient evidence and convincing the judge, the case will proceed to trial.

Conversely, if the judge determines that there is not enough evidence, the charges against the defendant may be dismissed.

Typically, preliminary hearings are held in front of a judge, not a jury, and are commonly used in felony cases. These hearings are crucial to protect the rights of the accused by ensuring that they are not subject to prolonged detention or imprisonment without proper evidence.

As a result, the preliminary hearing is a crucial step in the criminal justice process, providing a way to examine the strength of the prosecution's case and determine whether it merits a full trial.