What is a Preliminary Hearing in Georgia?
Court cases require multiple court appearances during the course of the case. A preliminary hearing is the first hearing, and its purpose is to establish whether the case should proceed to trial or be dismissed. It is also known as a committal hearing and can be described as a “trial before the trial.” A preliminary hearing is an excellent opportunity to ensure that a trial never happens and it requires that you make the strongest arguments demonstrating why your case should not go to trial. Doing this without legal representation is very difficult At Lawson and Berry, our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 50 years of criminal experience and understand how important preliminary hearings are. Our assistance can make an enormous different in preparing and presenting your case to the judge. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
What to Expect
A preliminary hearing is essentially a mini-trial where the judge considers whether the prosecutor has produced enough evidence to convince a reasonable jury that the defendant committed the charged crimes. The judge is not determining whether the accused is guilty or not guilty, just whether or not there is enough for there to be a trial.
To reach a conclusion, the judge listens to evidence from both sides. The prosecutor will present evidence in an effort to convince the judge that the case should go to trial and can use witnesses to further that aim. The defense will question any evidence the prosecutor seeks to admit and cross-examine the witnesses in hopes of convincing the judge that the prosecutor's case is not strong enough.
If the judge is convinced that there is probable cause to believe that the crime was committed by the defendant, then a trial will be scheduled. However, if the judge does not find that the evidence establishes probable cause, then the charges against the accused will be dismissed.
Should I Hire an Attorney for a Preliminary Hearing?
As stated previously, the preliminary hearing is crucial to your case. If you can demonstrate that the state does not have sufficient against you, then the charges will be dismissed. However, this is tough to do on your own without legal training, and it is not worth the risk. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in your case. They know how to cross-examine witnesses and create gaps in the prosecutor's case. This is your future on the line and hiring a lawyer is the best way to ensure you receive a fair trial and have the strongest defense.
Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys have decades of criminal experience. They will work tirelessly to defend your case and will assist you in constructing the strongest defense possible. Don't take a chance with your future; contact our offices today for a free consultation.