Los Angeles Preliminary Hearing Attorney
The Preliminary Hearing
Following the arraignment process is the preliminary hearing often referred to as the prelim. The whole purpose of the prelim is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to have you, as the defendant, answer for the alleged charges.
The prelim basically answers the questions on whether there is enough probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and if there is enough probable cause to believe that you, the defendant, are the person who committed the crime. The burden of proof is on the prosecution but only as to probable cause.
If a defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated due to an extensive delay, they can file a motion to dismiss due to a lack of a speedy prosecution. Such a motion is commonly known as Serna motions after the 1985 California Supreme Court decision in Serna v. Superior Court.
The prosecution must just show probable cause at the prelim and then during the jury trial, the prosecution must prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Your Legal Rights
As a defendant you have legal rights that we will make sure you exercise. For one, you have a legal right to an attorney, the right to confront and cross examine witnesses, the right to produce defense witnesses, the right to be free from physical restraint, and more rights that our lawyers will break down and explain to you.
If the judge makes a factual finding that there is no probable cause to try you then that finding is binding on the prosecutor. The prosecution may be able to re-file another complaint or file a motion to reinstate the dismissed counts. Legal findings are not binding and the prosecution may choose to re-file.
During a prelim, the judge may also make the decision to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. As your criminal attorney, we play a huge part in this and do everything we can to get charges dismissed and/or reduced.
Motion to Dismiss
If the judge finds probable cause as to the charges during the prelim, we, as your criminal lawyer, can file a 995 motions which is another challenge to probable cause. The prosecution, in response to a 995 motion, must offer sufficient proof to each element of the crime being charged.
If you are facing a crime, contact a lawyer at the Hedding Law Firm a free case review. Rest assure that we will help you and do everything in our power to get you the best possible results.
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