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A preliminary hearing is a court hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence for a felony criminal case to move forward. It is meant to eliminate very weak cases. However, the defense oftentimes uses this hearing as an opportunity to see the strength of the evidence.


During the preliminary hearing, law enforcement personnel usually testify as to what happened in the case. Unlike at trial, when hearsay is NOT allowed, during the preliminary hearing, law enforcement officers are allowed to testify on behalf of alleged victims. So, even if the alleged victim does not show up at the preliminary hearing to testify, the case can still move forward if law enforcement officers testify and the judge feels that there is enough probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime.

How Preliminary Hearings Affect Plea Deals

Oftentimes, a prosecutor will offer a plea deal prior to the preliminary hearing and then take that offer away if the defendant chooses to go through with the preliminary hearing. This is why it is important to speak to a criminal defense lawyer. You need to know whether or not the deal is worth taking so that you don’t lose your chance at a good plea deal.

We pride ourselves on being aggressive and genuinely caring about our clients. We fight both state AND federal cases. Call us at 213-235-7969 to see how we can help you fight your case. We serve LA County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, and all of southern California, and we only focus on criminal defense. We look forward to hearing from you.


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