The Preliminary hearing is a critical stage in the criminal case.

I have a preliminary hearing what am I to expect?

To get a preliminary hearing you first must be in custody and the case cannot be indicted or accused. Rules of evidence apply except that hearsay is admissible. OC GA 24-1-2 (D)(2). This also means hearsay is admissible in a preliminary detention hearing for a juvenile as well as for the transfer hearing. The purpose of the preliminary hearing is not to decide the truth or falsity of the allegations but rather to decide whether the quantity and quality of the evidence that the State has assembled is sufficient to justify binding the accused over for trial. Thus the court in a preliminary hearing is not usually using out-of-court statements for their hearsay use, to prove the truth of the matter asserted, but instead to evaluate whether the evidence is reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the accused committed or was committing an offense. The confrontation clause is not applicable to a preliminary hearing and thus the admission of hearsay at the preliminary hearing does not violate the defendant's right of confrontation under Crawford v. Washington. Even if the judge decides that there is no probable cause to go forward with the case, the district attorney's office can indict or accuse the case anyways if they feel that there is sufficient evidence to go forward with the case. The main reason for filing for a preliminary hearing is to find out what evidence the State may have to go forward with the case. Oftentimes an investigator can be asked questions that later can be used at trial to narrow the issues that the defense needs to focus on. Hire your Paulding county criminal defense lawyer early on in the case in order that you may win your case start doing the things you need to do.

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