Passion, Knowledge & Experience
I get asked this question a lot- should our client waive their preliminary hearing?
If you are facing a felony charge and were incarcerated after your arraignment, you are entitled to a preliminary hearing (PH) on the question of whether there is probable cause to believe you have committed any felony. In Livingston County this is sometimes called a Felony Hearing.
Whether you should waive a PH is a fact-specific question with an answer that changes from situation to situation. Prosecutors don't like preliminary hearings because they drain time from an otherwise busy schedule, so sometimes the waiver of a PH can be used as an incentive in fast-moving plea negotiations.
Nevertheless, holding a PH is good for at least three things: 1) Encouraging a prosecutor to review a case early on and make a plea offer (in exchange for not having to run the preliminary hearing). 2) Cross-examining an investigating officer or other witnesses early in the case to lock in his or her testimony almost three months before the next time they might have to testify at another hearing. 3) Last but not least, getting a client out of jail if that client is, in fact, innocent. If you are being asked to waive a preliminary hearing, you need to talk to a lawyer. Really. Whether it is us, or somebody else, get in touch with your lawyer today. We can help you decide whether to hold or waive a hearing, and we can help come up with a strategy to leverage the hearing to your advantage.
The Militello Law Firm gives free phone consultations on DWI and criminal matters. You can reach us at (585) 485-0025.