what happens at my preliminary hearing in Mohave County?

At Mohave Law PLLC we often field questions from prospective clients inquiring about what happens at their preliminary hearing.  During a preliminary hearing a judge may admit evidence to determine whether there is probable cause to hold the defendant for trial.  All parties are allowed to cross-examine a witness who testifies in person at the hearing.

A defendant has right to a preliminary hearing if charged in a complaint with a felony.  A preliminary hearing must take place before a judge no later than 10 days after the defendant’s initial appearance if the defendant is in custody, or no later than 20 days after the defendant’s initial appearance if the defendant is not in custody, unless:

  1.  the complaint is dismissed;
  2.  the hearing is waived;
  3.  the defendant has been transferred from the juvenile court for criminal prosecution on specified charges; or
  4. the judge orders the hearing continued.

If a magistrate finds there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed by the defendant, the magistrate must file a written order holding the defendant to answer for the offense before the superior court.  In making its finding the court must base the probable cause finding on substantial evidence which may include some forms of hearsay.  Of course if the court finds there is no probable cause the court must dismiss the complaint and discharge the defendant.

If you are in need of legal representation for criminal defense Mohave Law PLLC is here to protect your rights and fight for justice.  Please call us at 928-263-2026 to see if our firm is the right fit for your legal needs.  We handle cases throughout Arizona.