Among the critical phases of a criminal trial, a preliminary hearing is the first phase that both the plaintiff and the defendant has to go through. Preliminary hearings are more like an arraignment (where the alleged can submit the pleas), pending trial. From the preliminary hearing, the tribunal actually finds the appropriate way to keep the trial on track. Here is the overview of preliminary hearing questions and what the preliminary hearing refers to.
What is a preliminary hearing?
A legal process of inquiring about future public hearings is referred to as a preliminary hearing. Initially, in the preliminary hearings, the issues that are discussed and decided, include the details and credentials of the participants such as individuals and the institutions that are involved, the timetable of the hearing process, and the other complex procedural matters.
A preliminary hearing is also described as the trial before the trial, a stage where the judge does not conclude that either the alleged individual is guilty or not, but if the case has enough evidence and the potential to proceed further for the trial.
The possible cause directs the presentation of the evidence and the grounds for the prosecution, which proves the guilt is beyond the standards of reasonable doubt.
This reflects that anticipated consequences are far more difficult in a preliminary hearing than pursuing a trial. Thus, success in a preliminary hearing can make you eligible to get away with fewer charges.
Who participates in the preliminary hearing process?
Legal representatives of the participants, or the potential participants themselves and inquiry counsel will be responsible to ascertain the presence of the procedural matters. Whatever the agenda and the schedule for the hearing – would be decided in the pre-trial hearing – is supposed to be published on the website of inquiry counsel.
What is the core difference between a public hearing and the preliminary hearing?
As mentioned earlier, a preliminary hearing is the decision against the trial process, whereas in public hearing the inquiry demands formal evidence against the defendant that includes witness testimonies on oath.
Who else can attend the preliminary hearing?
Generally, both public and preliminary hearings are open to attend for the public. However, in certain cases, the council may require to hear special concerns behind closed doors. There are small public sittings that are allocated for the preliminary hearing and they are used by the attendants on a first-come-first-served basis. Other than the public, an area is allocated for the media persons as well.
When a preliminary hearing is required?
Typically, a preliminary hearing is arranged after the identification of the case that might be complex such as a whistleblower, or the claims regarding discrimination. The main purpose of the preliminary hearing is to allow the participants to be prepared for the trial coming up after the hearing. It also offers them to know exactly what to expect.
Sometimes, preliminary hearings are offered when the concerns of the plaintiffs are relatively weak, and the council needs to review either the evidence is good enough to be taken further, or the case holds the interest of the judiciary to hear the claims. In certain cases, the tribunal has the right to strike off the weak cases and if the plaintiff insists on the case to proceed, then the claimant has to pay a deposit for the reason.
Are Preliminary hearings televised?
As mentioned above, the schedule and the hearing information will be published on the inquiry counsel’s website, the need to televised a preliminary hearing is not required after that as they are uploaded right after 10 to 15 minutes of the hearings.
What are the outcomes of the preliminary hearings?
Usually, the preliminary hearing ends up with any of the three mentioned outcomes:
Reduced charges: If there is a felony case, then sometimes the judge reduces the charges as misdemeanor instead of felonies. It may be possible due to the lack of evidence provided.
Go to trial: Most frequently, the defendant holds the guilt or is bound over to the trial.
Dismissed: It happens rarely, but the judge after a preliminary hearing, dismisses the case based on poor or no evidence or witnesses. However, the prosecution can also refile them, if the defendant wants the tribunal to hear the case again, or wants to change the tribunal panel.
How does an attorney help in a preliminary hearing?
If you’re convicted of a crime, a preliminary hearing can be the best opportunity if your lawyer successfully manages to prevent the trial to start in the first place. It requires your lawyer to make the strongest arguments against the prosecution to show that the case is weak against you.
The assistance of an experienced attorney will make a huge difference in presenting the case, and also getting it dismissed.
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