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Important facts about preliminary hearings

The justice system can be complex and confusing, which may make it difficult to navigate. It is important to take the time to understand each part of the process.

If you or a loved one face criminal charges, there will be a preliminary hearing. There are a few key facts about this part of the trial you should know.

Prima Facie

During a preliminary hearing, it is the Commonwealth's job to show a basis for the case. This is also known as prima facie. According to rule 543 of the Pennsylvania Code, proving prima facie is critical to proceedings of the case. During this process, the Commonwealth must present initial evidence to show the crime did occur and that the accused party may have committed the crime in question. Also, the court must accept the evidence as true. If these two aspects are not met, the court may dismiss the case.

First phase

As the name indicates, the preliminary hearing is preliminary, or the first step, in the trial process, and it determines how the case moves forward. Not only does the Commonwealth present evidence, but the defense has an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and question evidence, which helps to build the case of the accused party. It is also the first opportunity to begin working on a plea deal, should both parties deem such action as a viable solution.

Important to the case

The preliminary hearing establishes the basis for a criminal case, which makes it vital to the trail as a whole. Defendants should be sure they trust their attorneys to see them through this crucial part of the trail, and the case in general.

These are just a few key facts about the preliminary hearing process. Take some time to fully research the proceedings so that you may gain a full understanding of what is ahead.

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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.
20120 Route 19, Suite 208
Gigliotti Plaza
Cranberry Township, PA 16066

Phone: 724-935-0820
Fax: 724-779-6299
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Haller & Imbarlina, P.C.