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Barring the ability to assert your 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, you will be compelled to testify. The next step is called the formal arraignment, which is done at the courthouse usually a month or two after the preliminary hearing. I want to take this opportunity to explain what a Preliminary Hearing is and what will happen at the Preliminary Hearing. Some of the next steps may include: Once the preliminary hearing is over, the case is ready to head to trial. It usually does not make sense to waive it unless there is some sort of firm offer on the table which the defendant wishes to accept or unless there is a requirement in that county that the hearing be waived in exchange for ARD consideration. If I Have an Outstanding Warrant in Pa and Moved, Am I a Fugitive? What Happens at a Preliminary Hearing? The preliminary hearing (sometimes called a pre-hearing review or ‘PHR’) is a hearing that takes place before the main employment tribunal hearing, in order to address something other than the substantive issues of the case. It must be held within 14 days of the initial appearance if the defendant is being held in jail. Therefore, whether you should waive the hearing depends on the jurisdiction and the offer made by the government. What Are The Financial Penalties For White-Collar Crimes? After an initial appearance in misdemeanor cases, or preliminary hearing in a felony case, the court will schedule a pretrial conference. It is usually better to wait and see what the evidence looks like before presenting potential defense witnesses. Preliminary means something that comes before something else. If the defendant is in custody at the time of the arraignment, arrangements must be made to release him from custody pending a preliminary hearing. Two things can happen after a Judge hands down the ruling from a preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania: If the Judge believes the prosecution presented probable cause to show a crime occurred and you are the best suspect, your case will continue moving toward trial and they may even set a trial date in the days following your preliminary hearing. Felonies get filed two ways in California State Courts. PreTrial Motions & Hearings (Discovery, Pitchess, Suppression) Aside from any actions taken at the … Thank you. If the evidence is deemed insufficient, the case is dismissed. Credibility is not an issue at a preliminary hearing. A pre-trial occurs in both felony and misdemeanor cases. Teen Drinking and Driving Prevention PSA Scholarship. This means that defendants now have increased protections at the preliminary hearing and an earlier opportunity to make a meaningful challenge to the case against them. You probably do not have the experience or legal knowledge to give yourself the best defense. The extent to which the judge will allow defense counsel to explore the reasons for the search or the stop varies from judge to judge. Assuming the defendant pleads not guilty, the case will then be listed for a pre-trial conference before a judge. Click here to learn more about habeas corpus petitions. The prosecutor or affiant (main police officer or assigned detective) must present enough evidence to prove a prima facie case for each charge. Most often, the defendant is held to answer, or “bound over” for trial on the original charge. A preliminary hearing is held only on felony cases and is conducted before a magistrate judge. Nonetheless, there are many defenses which can still be argued and may result in the dismissal of charges. No, there are at least three situations in which you may not receive a preliminary hearing if you are charged with a crime in Pennsylvania. What Happens After A Preliminary Hearing? For example, the police officer may testify to something which can be helpful at a later motion to suppress the physical evidence, or the complainant may say something wildly different from what the complainant said in a statement to detectives. The judge has a few options at the hearing. Preliminary hearings are not always required, and the defendant can choose to waive it. there is nothing significant about 28 days. Within some criminal justice systems, a preliminary hearing, preliminary examination, preliminary inquiry, evidentiary hearing or probable cause hearing is a proceeding, after a criminal complaint has been filed by the prosecutor, to determine whether there is enough evidence to require a trial. Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyers offer a 15-minute, complimentary criminal defense strategy session. These hearings function to apprise defendants of their constitutional rights, particularly the … What happens after the preliminary hearing? Second, in Philadelphia, the Commonwealth occasionally proceeds by way of indicting grand jury instead of providing a defendant with a preliminary hearing. This split between the procedures in the counties and in Philadelphia will likely narrow due to the recent Supreme Court decision, but some differences will probably still remain. There are limits on the prosecution’s ability to endlessly re-file cases at this lower level, but it is clear that the Commonwealth can re-file at least once and sometimes twice. In Philadelphia, a trial before a judge could take place in roughly three to six months after the preliminary hearing. Reduced charges. In fact, the accused can’t testify or present any evidence. Call 267-225-2545 to speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers. Go to trial. If the Commonwealth is not ready after three listings, most judges will dismiss the case. Instead, the judge is instructed by law to accept the testimony of Commonwealth witnesses as true because the judge is simply evaluating whether there is enough evidence for the Commonwealth to proceed to trial. By the time of the pretrial conference, your attorney will have what is referred to as “discovery materials,” which tend to be: 1. Preliminary hearings are typically scheduled shortly after you file for divorce. Each state has its own rules regarding preliminary hearings, which may or may not require a preliminary hearing in your case. The defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor in order to reduce the charges or the sentence. 2. A pre-trial occurs in both felony and misdemeanor cases. This is extremely important because of the reality that in serious cases or in cases where a defendant is on probation or parole, it is possible for that person to be held in custody for months or even years while awaiting trial. Once discovery is complete and any plea offers have been rejected, the case will be listed for trial. We will typically waive the hearing only when the defendant has already been approved for some sort of diversionary program such as ARD or treatment court. Home » FAQs » What Happens After A Preliminary Hearing? At McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., we fight to protect your rights and represent your best interests. This is a crucial phase of your case and it is vital to have a criminal defense lawyer speak on your behalf. If the case cannot be resolved, then the defendant may still file the petition for writ of habeas corpus, and the Common Pleas judge would then hold a habeas corpus hearing in much the same manner as would occur in the magisterial district court at the prelim.
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