The Preliminary Hearing in a Utah Criminal Case

What is a Preliminary Hearing in a Utah Criminal Proceeding?

In a Utah criminal proceeding there is a pre-trial phase known as the preliminary hearing. This hearing is basically the “trial before the trial.” The preliminary hearing is a phase in which the prosecutor presents evidence to a judge in order to show that there is probable cause that an individual committed a crime. The preliminary hearing is crucial in a case. If the judge is persuaded to believe that there is, or is not probable cause that an individual committed a crime the judge will either decide if the case continues on to a trial or if the charges are then dropped.

In a preliminary hearing the judge will listen to arguments presented by a prosecuting attorney, as well as from the defense attorney. Within a preliminary hearing witnesses may be called to testify and can introduce physical evidence.  Witnesses and evidence are efforts used to convince the judge that the case should go to trial. It is most often expected that the defense will then cross-examine the prosecutor’s witnesses as well as question the presented evidence. The defendant’s efforts in a preliminary hearing should be aimed at convincing the judge that there is insufficient or not enough evidence to continue the case. Preliminary hearings can also be waived within a criminal case where a “not guilty” plea is entered.

Your Case May Get Dismissed At the Preliminary Hearing

If you are facing a criminal charge it is best to understand the importance of a preliminary hearing. Seeking the assistance of an attorney in a criminal case is a must. A competent Utah criminal defense lawyer may have the ability to get your cased dismissed early on through a preliminary hearing.  The attorneys at Utah Defenders are experienced and understand the importance of every stage in your case. Call Utah Defenders at 801.618.1334 to schedule a free consultation so that we can sit down with you and inform you of your options.

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