A preliminary hearing is an important part of a criminal case. It is the hearing during which the judge will make a determination about whether or not there is enough evidence to try you for the charge you are facing. While it might seem that the goals of the defense attorney and the prosecutor are cut and dry – one wants to have charges move forward and the other wants them dropped – there are actually other motivations at play.
Read on to get the details. If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
The Goal of the Prosecutor at the Preliminary Hearing
As you might imagine, the main goal for the prosecutor at the preliminary hearing is to show the judge that there is enough evidence for the accused to stand trial. However, the prosecutor almost never actually wants the case to move forward to trial. They would almost always prefer to settle the case, but they want to use the preliminary hearing as a way to prove to the defense that they have a strong case and that the defendant would be best off settling.
The Goals of the Defense at the Preliminary Hearing
Yes, the main goal of the defense is to show the judge that there is not enough evidence against their client and to then drop the charges. They can do this by building a foundation on which to impeach the witnesses the prosecutor is going to bring, by preserving witness testimony, or by questioning the legality of the evidence being used against their client.
However, even if the court decides that the case should continue, the defense can still learn a lot at a preliminary hearing. Remember that a preliminary hearing is essentially a mini-trial in which the prosecution will generally provide all the evidence they have against you. They can use the hearing to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, to learn who their witnesses are likely to be and to determine which defense option would be best to present.
While the defense does not have to go through a preliminary hearing and has the legal right to waive it, enough information can be found within it that it is often worth it.
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The truth is that your criminal defense attorney is going to be in the best position to determine what your best defense option is and what you can learn at this preliminary hearing. If you are facing criminal charges then we strongly recommend you contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 to request a free legal consultation.