Key facts regarding preliminary hearings
Sometimes people make mistakes or face accusations of actions that could possibly harm others. In some instances, this may lead to those people fighting criminal charges.
It is important to understand the different aspects of the court process when determining a course of action. In particular, for the preliminary hearing, there are a few key facts to understand.
The hearing establishes the case
According to the Pennsylvania code for preliminary hearings, the primary purpose of the hearing is to determine prima facie. In other words, the State must prove that there are grounds for the charges. To achieve this goal, the State must present evidence that verifies two principal arguments:
- The crime occurred
- The defendant could have committed the crime
If the court accepts these arguments as true, the case may continue. On the other hand, if the defendant can prove either argument to be false or the court does not accept either argument, the case may be dismissed.
The hearing is critical to the process
Both sides present evidence and arguments during the preliminary hearing and expand those arguments during the actual trial process. As such, the State’s stance during the preliminary hearing is critical to the process as a whole. Once the defendant knows how the State plans to argue the case, it is then possible to create a strong defense against it. A knowledgeable attorney will be essential in building a solid defense argument.
The defense strategy is essential to the outcome
The preliminary hearing is either the beginning of the trial process or the end, depending on the court’s decision. Finding the evidence to prove innocence and preparing a defense to the prosecution’s arguments are the determining factors in getting the case dismissed, so it is essential to select a criminal defense attorney who has the experience, knowledge and skills necessary to obtain a favorable outcome.