Preliminary DUI Hearings
By: Mike Stetzer
Preliminary hearings are generally held shortly after an arraignment. At a preliminary hearing in a DUI case, the focus is not on innocence or guilt. Instead, at this court hearing the judge simply looks at the evidence and decides whether there is enough to force the defendant to stand trial.
The judge uses the probable cause legal standard. This means that there must be enough evidence to convince a jury of reasonable adults that the defendant is guilty of the crime.
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What Happens At a Preliminary Hearing?
The judge hears arguments from the prosecutor and from the defendant, or the defendant's DUI lawyer, before reaching a decision. The prosecution can call witnesses and may provide physical evidence in order to show the judge that the case should go to trial. The defendant's lawyer will generally cross-examine any witnesses and question the validity of evidence that the prosecution has presented, in an effort to convince the judge that the DUI case against the defendant should be dismissed.
Alternatives to Preliminary Hearings in DUI Cases
If a defendant pleads guilty to DUI or a plea bargain is reached, there is no preliminary hearing since the case is resolved. Additionally, a preliminary hearing is not held in every DUI case, even when a not guilty plea is entered.
In some states, a preliminary hearing is conducted only when a defendant is charged with a felony DUI. In other states, there is a grand jury indictment process rather than a preliminary hearing.
Talk to a DUI Attorney
If you have an upcoming preliminary DUI trial, it is important to speak with a local DUI lawyer right away. Contact a local DUI attorney about the DUI laws in your state , give us a call at 877-349-1311 or fill out our free case evaluation form. We will put you in touch with a lawyer to set up a free, no obligation consultation today.
The above summary is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice, and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your state.