What is a Preliminary Hearing?
Ask a Harrisburg Criminal Defense Lawyer
A preliminary hearing is typically the first step after you have received
your court summons, or after you are arrested in the Pennsylvania criminal
process. This hearing, which is also called a "prelim," is the
first opportunity for us to hear and see the initial evidence in your
case. Short of taking a case to jury trial, we believe that the preliminary
hearing is the most important hearing in the criminal process. At the
preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth must establish that it has enough
evidence to proceed with a criminal prosecution. The prosecutors do not
need to prove your case beyond all doubt. Instead, they must simply show
that a crime was committed and more likely than not, you are the person
who did it.
Should I hire an attorney for my preliminary hearing?
Yes, you need a lawyer! If our Harrisburg criminal defense attorneys at
Curcillo Law, LLC are successful at your preliminary hearing, your case
should be dismissed. However, even when that does not happen, there are
many positive benefits that can come from the hearing. It is a chance
for us to lay a foundation for the defense by attacking the government's
case, challenging witnesses, and committing the testimony to writing (through
the use of court reporter), if we believe that is the best course of action to take.
In a great number of cases, the preliminary hearing is the first—and
sometimes only—chance to have the charges dismissed or have the
police witnesses cross-examined. At this hearing, we have the ability
to ask witnesses questions, as well as the ability to call our own witnesses.
In the worst-case scenario, if the hearing concludes and you are still
facing criminal charges, we will at least be able to determine the strength
of the government's case, which will put us in a better position to
determine the risk and likelihood of conviction. This will provides us
with the information we need to properly advise of the best next steps
for your defense. It is only after a review of the evidence that we are
in a position to determine whether you should go to trial or work toward
the best possible plea deal. We are here to guide you through each step of
the court system in Pennsylvania.
Get the legal protection you need for your preliminary hearing. Call Curcillo
Law, LLC today!