DUI Preliminary Hearing
After you are arraigned for a DUI charge, your next step is probably going to be a preliminary hearing. This is the last step before a pre-trial motions and a trial. In fact, you may not have to make it trial depending on what happens during the preliminary hearing. Depending on the facts surrounding your case, your DUI defense attorney may have been able to suppress much of the evidence against you. If this is the case, the judge will have to determine during the preliminary hearing whether or not there is even enough evidence against you to hold a trial.
It is the role of the judge to decide if the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime you were charged with. If the judge believes that the prosecution has not presented enough proof against you as far as evidence is concerned, the judge will know that a jury cannot convict you.
The Purpose Of The Preliminary Hearing
Your attorney will explain that a preliminary hearing is similar to a real trial. The prosecution will make arguments to prove that you were driving under the influence and then the defense will make arguments on your behalf. Witnesses can be called to the stand on both sides and may be cross examined for questioning. If the prosecution was able to obtain chemical test results and field sobriety test results, they will use this as evidence during the preliminary hearing.
Unless a plea bargain is an option, the prosecution will try to convince the judge that you committed the crime of drinking and driving and show that there is probable cause to make you stand trial before a jury. The defense will try to expose any weaknesses in the prosecution’s claims such as if your chemical test results were tainted or not administered properly by police or medical staff.
What Cases Have Preliminary Hearings?
If your case makes it to the preliminary hearing stage, chances are you were charged with a felony. This is because most states don’t allow a misdemeanor charge to go on to a preliminary hearing. Rather, a county trial is conducted.
For specific questions regarding your preliminary hearing, it’s best to consult with your DUI defense attorney.
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