A prosecutor may need to show probable cause that a crime occurred
In some cases, a preliminary hearing is scheduled so that a prosecutor can establish probable cause that a crime occurred. If a judge doesn’t believe that there is sufficient evidence that a crime occurred, your case may be thrown out before it gets to trial. Alternatively, a judge may choose to throw out one or more of the charges that you are currently facing.
These hearings can be used to compel you to take action
In a civil proceeding, a preliminary hearing may be scheduled as a means of obtaining information from you or your defense team. You may also ask that a hearing be scheduled to compel other parties in your case to share information with your legal team. It is also possible to convene a hearing to ask for a summary judgment in the case.
You won’t be found guilty at a preliminary hearing
It is important to note that you won’t be found guilty of any criminal charges during a preliminary hearing. Furthermore, you generally won’t be able to call witnesses or otherwise prove your innocence at this stage of the legal process. If a judge finds that there is a reasonable chance that you could be convicted of a charge, a trial will be scheduled.
If you are convicted of a crime, you may be sentenced to jail or prison time, a fine or probation. In some cases, being charged with a crime may result in spending time in jail or losing custody of your children. A criminal law attorney may be able to help get your case dismissed or negotiate a favorable plea bargain in a timely manner.