Preliminary Hearings

Many times, a potential client will contact this office indicating that they have a "Trial" coming up and stating that they do not have a lawyer for their Felony charge(s). What this often turns out to be, is a person calling to retain counsel to be present for their "Preliminary Hearing" (as well as all other phases of their criminal defense). A Preliminary Hearing is not a Trial. A Preliminary Hearing is utilized when an individual is charged with a Felony. It is not used in Misdemeanor charges. Essentially, a Preliminary Hearing allows a Judge to determine whether or not there is "Probable Cause" to charge an individual with the crime he is alleged to have committed. During this hearing, defense counsel has the opportunity to challenge some of the Commonwealth's evidence, or alternatively, obtaining information leading to favorable resolution of the case or obtaining information about important evidence or witnesses. In many occurences, the charge is dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing (or reduced to a Misdemeanor). If the Judge finds that Probable Cause exists, the case will be certified to the Grand Jury (in the State Court). If you have any questions regarding obtaining a lawyer or your criminal defense (or any other matters, criminal or civil), please do not hesitate to contact our office at 804-270-0190. Debra D. Corcoran