Van Nuys Criminal Defense Attorney
Criminal Lawyer Serving All of San Fernando Valley
The Preliminary Hearing
If you have been arrested for a crime and have gone through thearraignment process, the next step is the preliminary hearing often referred to as the prelim. The prelim is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to justify having you answer for the alleged charges.
The prelim is the answer to the questions on whether there is enough probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and if there is enough probable cause to believe that you, the defendant, are the person who committed the crime.
The burden of proof is on the prosecution to show probable cause. The prosecution must just show probable cause at the prelim and then during the jury trial, the prosecution must prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
As a defendant you have legal rights that we, as your Van Nuys criminal defense attorney, will make sure you exercise. For one, you have a legal right to an attorney, the right to confront and cross examine witnesses, the right to produce defense witnesses, the right to be free from physical restraint.
If the judge makes a factual finding that there is no probable cause to have a trial, the finding is binding on the prosecutor. The prosecution may be able to re-file another complaint or file a motion to reinstate the dismissed counts. Legal findings are not binding and the prosecution may choose to re-file.
During a prelim, the judge may also make the decision to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. We play a huge part in this and do everything we can to get charges dismissed and/or reduced.
If the judge happens to find probable cause as to the charges during the prelim, we do not quit! We can file a motion called a 995 motions which is another challenge to probable cause. The prosecution, in response to a 995 motion, must offer sufficient proof to each element of the crime being charged.
If you are facing a crime, we have the necessary experience, skill, and knowledge to effectively and competently represent you.
Contact us for a free face to face case evaluation and we will discuss everything further in detail.