As in any profession or system there is a lot of jargon in the criminal justice system. One area that can get particularly confusing for people facing criminal charges is the myriad of different court hearings there are and the different names for them. This gets particularly confusing as different courts use different names for essentially the same hearing. One hearing however that is pretty standard across courts is the preliminary hearing, and although the title would suggest that its the first hearing a defendant will appear at its actually not, and the defendant has the option to waive this hearing all together if they would like.
What is a Preliminary Hearing in Utah?
In Utah courts a preliminary hearing only takes place in district court and its purpose is to decide whether or not there is enough evidence in a case to move forward or if it should be dismissed from the beginning. The state bears the burden of showing the judge by a preponderance of the evidence that this is enough evidence to hold the case over for trial. What this means is that the prosecutor will call witnesses to testify as to the criminal allegations, and if the judge thinks its enough to move forward then he/she will order that the case be held over and set a pretrial conference date. This is a very low bar that the state has to meet to have a case held over and the majority of preliminary hearings end in the case being held over, but it is often a good opportunity for the defendant to be able to cross examine witnesses and have a clearer view of the state’s theory of the case.
Ogden Criminal Defense Attorney | Representing you at your Preliminary Hearing
If you are facing criminal charges in district court then you are facing serious charges that could result in serious penalties so call Ogden Criminal Defense Lawyer today for help defending yourself. Our lawyers are experienced criminal defense attorneys and now how to fight for you in the preliminary hearing and more.