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What is a preliminary hearing?

On Behalf of | Nov 6, 2020 | Violent crimes

Being arrested for a violent crime in Maryland is a serious matter. It is not a good thing to be accused of a violent crime like murder, but a suspect is always innocent until proven guilty. The justice system in Maryland can be confusing for a defendant. One of the first things a violent crime defendant may do is attend their preliminary hearing.

A preliminary hearing is usually the first proceeding in a criminal trial when a defendant is being charged with a felony. There are important matters that are worked out at a preliminary hearing:

Probably cause

The most important item that is decided at a preliminary hearing is whether or not the prosecution has probable cause against the defendant. This means that a judge will decide whether there0 is enough evidence to continue with the judicial process or if the case should be dismissed or specific charges dropped.

Bail determined

A preliminary hearing can also allow a judge to set a bail amount for the defendant if they are still incarcerated.

Learning more about prosecutor’s case

A preliminary hearing can give insight into the prosecutor’s case by learning what information they know and what witnesses they have.

A legal professional who is skilled in criminal defense can be a valuable member for a defendant. If a person is facing serious charges, like murder, hiring an attorney immediately can be critical. An attorney can attend the preliminary hearing, learn about the charges their client is facing and work on aggressively defending their client. An attorney can be an invaluable resource and one who understands the legal system and the rights their client has.