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6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRELIMINARY HEARINGS

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


J.S.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I hired Zachary after I found myself charged with a felony. He put me at ease right away and during the whole process he explained each step to where I understood everything and was always available for any questions I had. ”


S.N.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


Joshua Black, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


Josephine Hallam, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss and I worked in the same office, although we were at different law firms. He was eager to learn and developed a reputation for honesty and zealous advocacy.”


Kristopher Califano, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


Allen Hsu, Attorney

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6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PRELIMINARY HEARINGS

 

An arrest marks the beginning of what is often a long and difficult journey through the criminal justice system. You will make several predictable stops at the outset of this journey: the police station, where you will be booked; the courthouse for an “initial appearance,” where you will be advised of the charges against you and bail will be set; and then jail, if you cannot make bail. Whether you are released on bail or held in custody, your next stop on this journey will be the courthouse, for a “preliminary hearing.”

This short information sheet answers common questions and explains what you can expect on that important day in court. If you would like more specific information, please reach out to us by phone.

We wish you well.

When a person is charged with a serious crime (generally, a crime punishable by more than a full year of imprisonment), he is entitled to a review of the evidence against him and a determination as to whether that evidence is sufficient to proceed with a criminal prosecution. This process takes place at a “preliminary hearing.”

Let’s learn a little more about this important court date.

1. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to ensure that the State has enough evidence to justify pursuing the charges against you and moving your case toward trial.

The preliminary hearing serves as a screening device to protect against unwarranted prosecutions and a safeguard against overreaching by the prosecutor. At the hearing, the prosecutor must demonstrate “probable cause.” That is, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to suggest to a reasonable person that you (the accused) committed the crime with which you are charged.

2. In general, the preliminary hearing occurs shortly after a defendant’s arrest and initial appearance in court (when he learns the charges against him and bail is set).

The exact timing will vary, depending on whether you are facing federal or state charges and whether you are being held in custody or are free on bail. For example, in federal court, the preliminary hearing must take place not later than 14 days after your initial appearance in court if you are being held in custody, and not later than 21 days after your initial appearance if you are out on bail. The time period might be slightly shorter or longer under state law.

3. The procedure for conducting a preliminary hearing is similar to a trial.

Both the prosecutor and your defense attorney may be given an opportunity to make a brief opening statement to the judge (though either or both attorneys may decline, so as not to tip their hand to the other side). The prosecutor then will call witnesses. Typically, these witnesses will be police officers and investigators involved in your case, rather than eyewitnesses to the actual alleged crime. The witnesses will simply recite their reports for the judge, including any statements made to them by the alleged victim. Your defense attorney then will cross-examine the witnesses in an effort to poke holes in their testimony and challenge the validity of the prosecutor’s case. When the State has completed its presentation of evidence, your defense lawyer will have an opportunity to present witnesses and/or evidence on your behalf, but he may decline to do so. As a practical matter, defense counsel rarely present evidence at the preliminary hearing because the dangers of revealing the defense strategy far outweigh the possibility of a “no probable cause” finding. When all the evidence has been presented, the lawyers will make closing arguments to the judge, who then will make a finding of “probable cause” or “no probable cause.”

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

Experienced Phoenix DUI Attorney

Our mission is to help keep good people out of jail by balancing the criminal justice playing field so that each of our clients has a fighting chance to achieve realistic outcomes for their individual legal situations.

4. At the hearing, you have the constitutional right to remain silent, so the prosecutor cannot call you to the witness stand and force you to testify.

5. Your role at the hearing is to pay close attention to the evidence and to communicate any important information or questions privately to your attorney.

Your attorney may give you a pen and a notepad to keep track of the State’s case and to write notes, so you can communicate without being overheard.

6. Your defense attorney has several goals at the preliminary hearing.

The ultimate goal of the hearing is to persuade the judge to issue a finding of “no probable cause” and get the charges dismissed. If the judge makes a finding of probable cause, then your case will continue toward trial. However, even with a probable cause finding, your attorney may succeed in getting some (but no tall) of the charges dismissed or getting the charges reduced, or may be able to get your bail reduced. In addition, the preliminary hearing gives your criminal defense attorney a glimpse into the prosecution’s theory of the case, its trial strategy and the strength of its witnesses. This information will be particularly valuable as your case moves toward trial.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

Experienced Phoenix DUI Attorney

Our mission is to help keep good people out of jail by balancing the criminal justice playing field so that each of our clients has a fighting chance to achieve realistic outcomes for their individual legal situations.

KNOWLEDGEABLE PHOENIX DUI ATTORNEY

We help keep GOOD people out of jail — Future First Criminal Law is your top choice for competitive criminal defense and DUI law firms. Our practice is limited to a small number of criminal defense clients to best devote all of our time and attention to EVERY client’s needs. We understand that your future is at risk and our team will work diligently to develop an unwavering defense in court.

  • Clients Are Our #1 Focus
  • We only serve the “Phoenix Area” because we do not go outside of Maricopa county
  • Dedicated To Criminal Defense
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Have you been involved in DUI? Contact an attorney today to protect your rights and freedoms. They can help you gain an understanding of the criminal defense legal process and learn about the options available to you. Create a thorough defense strategy to give you your best chances — Schedule a free consultation.

 

 

Find The Right Phoenix, AZ DUI Attorney For Your Case

If you need a DUI attorney in Arizona, Look for an experienced criminal defense law firm that can dedicate all of their time and resources to helping clients with criminal charges. Find a knowledgeable DUI attorney who is willing to educate and advocate through every step of the legal process. Future First Criminal Law will get to know your case and develop a strategy that will work best for you. Request a free consultation today.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

Allen Hsu, Attorney

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. It has been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”

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8650 N. 35th Ave. Suite 110, Phoenix, AZ 85018

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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


J.S.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I hired Zachary after I found myself charged with a felony. He put me at ease right away and during the whole process he explained each step to where I understood everything and was always available for any questions I had. ”


S.N.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


Joshua Black, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


Josephine Hallam, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss and I worked in the same office, although we were at different law firms. He was eager to learn and developed a reputation for honesty and zealous advocacy.”


Kristopher Califano, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


Allen Hsu, Attorney