DUI Preliminary Hearing
Before a drunk-driving case goes to trial, there are several courtroom proceedings that must occur first: arraignment, the preliminary hearing, and pretrial motions.
If you are facing DUI charges, it is in your best interest to hire an experienced defense lawyer to help you with the court process. Your attorney can help you decide how to plead during arraignment and uncover favorable evidence that may be used on your behalf during the preliminary hearing or pre-trial motions.
The DUI preliminary hearing occurs soon after arraignment. This is often described as the trial before the real trial. During the preliminary hearing, the judge must determine if there is enough evidence against the defendant
for him or her to stand trial. It is important to note that the judge does not decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
To determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial, the judge must decide if the prosecution’s case meets the probable cause legal standard, which means the government must have enough evidence against the defendant to convince the jury that he or she committed the crime.
During the DUI preliminary hearing, both the prosecution and defense will present arguments. The prosecutor may present physical evidence, such as police reports or sobriety test results, or call witnesses to the stand. The defense may argue against the evidence presented and cross-examine the witnesses in order to prove that the prosecution’s case is not strong enough for trial. If the judge determines the prosecution’s case does not meet the probable cause standard, the case may be dismissed.
Not every drunk-driving case has a DUI preliminary hearing. In some states, preliminary hearings are reserved for felony cases. In other states, the DUI case may go through a grand jury indictment process where a jury decides if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
Do you have questions about the DUI preliminary hearing process in your state? If so, you should contact an attorney in your area who focuses exclusively on DUI defense.
Your attorney can represent you during the preliminary hearing in order to have your charges minimized or even dismissed.
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