What is a Preliminary Hearing?

In felony cases, your first appearance may be for the preliminary examination. This is not a trial, but a hearing at which a judge listens to the evidence of the crime and determines whether it is sufficient to require the defendant to stand trial in Superior Court. Normally, just enough evidence is presented to “hold the defendant to answer” in Superior Court. Witnesses are subpoenaed to testify at these hearings. No jurors will be present, since the judge alone decides if the defendant should be required to stand trial on the charges.

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2. What is a Preliminary Hearing?