Wagoner Lawyer Blog What Is a Criminal Preliminary Hearing?

A Preliminary Hearing Is Similar to a Mini-Trial

Video Transcribed: What is a criminal preliminary hearing? I am Stuart Ericson, I am an attorney in Wagoner. All right, so in a felony case, the first court date after your initial appearance will be for a preliminary hearing. And that is a probable cause hearing, where the state has to produce some evidence to justify your standing for your charges or to ultimately stand for a jury trial in the case. In that hearing, the state has to show two things.

Wagoner AttorneyNumber one, that a crime was committed, and number two, that there’s probable cause to believe that you committed the crime. So it’s a low standard, a preliminary hearing is not a trial.

So as the defendant and the defense attorney, we would never call witnesses because the judge is only going to listen to the prosecution witnesses and only ask themselves, “Do I think a crime was committed? And is there some evidence showing that you did it?” So we’re not going to have to rebut witnesses to say something different because the judge doesn’t decide who’s telling the truth. That’s all for a jury trial.

Now, a preliminary hearing could either be held, and the state will have to call their witnesses, and the criminal defense attorney, me, would get to cross-examine those witnesses.

Or a preliminary hearing can also be waived. And generally, the only reason to waive or give up your right to a preliminary hearing and to not have it is if you have a plea deal that you really like and really want to take, and then you would waive and ultimately do your plea deal. If you need my help, reach out to wagnerlawyer.com and ask for Stuart Ericson, I am the Wagoner Criminal Defense Attorney.

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