Reasons to Consider A Preliminary Hearing

The purpose of a preliminary hearing (sometimes called a committal or commitment hearing in Georgia) is “simply to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the accused guilty of the crime charged, and if so, to bind him over for indictment by the grand jury.”

More often than not, probable cause is established in the eyes of the court of inquiry. So why have a preliminary hearing? The answer: opportunities for discovery.  However, this does not mean that a party has the ability to go on a “fishing expedition.” As long as you conform to the law and rules of evidence, you should be able to get as much discovery as is available.

Under the rules of evidence, every party has a right to confront witnesses called against him as well as the right to a thorough and sifting cross-examination of those witnesses. If a thorough and sifting cross of the state’s witnesses is not allowed, the testimony of that witness could not be used if the witness is available.

At the hearing, a defendant should be represented by counsel. If the defendant needs to subpoena witnesses for the preliminary hearing, he can rely on the court to compel attendance of defense witnesses. An accused shall be given a reasonable time to prepare for the hearing. If the hearing is continued to a future date, it appears that if the crime charged is bailable by the court of inquiry, the accused has a right to have bail set at this point.

Any testimony given at a preliminary hearing is sworn testimony that can be used against a party at trial.

There are numerous considerations and factors that come into play when considering how best to build a defense. As such, it is critical to retain competent and aggressive counsel at the earliest possible stage. If you are facing serious criminal charges, contact us at Rouse & Co., LLC and let us put our experience to work for you.

Rouse & Co., LLC Attorneys at Law is an established Criminal Defense Law firm that serves clients in Atlanta, Georgia as well as Snellville, Loganville, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Suwanee, Duluth, Norcross, Buford, Monroe, Conyers, Convington, Stockbridge, Riverdale, Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Douglasville, Decatur, Doraville, Tucker, Fairburn, College Park, East Point, Peachtree City, Midtown Atlanta, North Atlanta, Buckhead, Marietta, Forest Park, Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Union City, Roswell, and Sandy Springs; we serve communities in a variety of counties including but not limited to: Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, Clayton County, Henry County, Newton County, Rockdale County, Walton County, Fayette County, Fulton County, Douglas County, and Cobb County. Call us for immediate legal help at reasonable, fair, and inexpensive prices, cost, and/or fees. 
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