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Preliminary Hearings: The Standard of Proof, the Role of the Arresting Officer, and Cross Examination

The purpose of the preliminary hearing is to figure out whether or not there is sufficient evidence to warrant a case being brought to trial. A Sacramento criminal defense attorney can answer your questions and prepare you for what to expect at the preliminary hearing.

What is That Standard of Proof to Be Bound Over for Trial?

In certain jurisdictions, the standard of proof at the preliminary hearing is “probable cause,” whereas in others, the prosecution must establish a “prima facie” case (which is more difficult to establish than probable cause). In either situation, the prosecution must have something more than the probable cause that was needed to search or arrest you. This is to ensure that only cases that have substantial merit are actually brought to trial.

What is the Role of the Arresting Officer at the Preliminary Hearing?

The arresting officer’s version of events carries great weight with most courts. For this reason, your Sacramento criminal defense attorney will most likely want to talk to the arresting officer prior to the hearing. The officer may be open to offers for a non-criminal disposition (for example, restitution) and/or the officer may alert your attorney of subjects to avoid during questioning at the hearing.

Will the Witnesses Be Questioned?

Your Sacramento criminal defense attorney may cross-examine any witnesses to explore the reliability of the witness’s version of events, as well as their ability to remain consistent under heavy questioning. However, your attorney needs to be cautious with this type of questioning as courts will not allow questions pertaining to bias, motive, criminal history, or general (uncharged) acts of dishonesty.

If you need the services of a Sacramento criminal defense attorney, call Param Pabla at (916) 285-7900 to schedule a consultation.

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