Los Angeles Criminal Defense at Preliminary Hearings
Our law firm specializes in successfully defending charges at preliminary hearings. The firm has been recognized as a Top 5% U.S. Law Firm based on peer reviews from other attorneys, judges, and prosecutors, in the area of legal ethics, professionalism, and judgment. We have more than 50 years experience in defending criminal matters and have had numerous charges reduced and dismissed after the preliminary hearing, including drug offenses, crimes of violence, DUI, and felony evading.
In California criminal courts, preliminary hearings are formal court hearings where the judge determines if there is probable cause to hold the defendant to answer for trial, on charges filed in the Felony Complaint. The hearing is only available if felony charges are filed (and not in misdemeanor prosecutions). It is a “mini-trial,” where prosecutors present witness testimony establishing a crime was committed, and how the defendant is responsible. If the judge finds there is probable cause for the charges in the Complaint, the case is sent to a trial court for arraignment on charges the prosecutor files in an Information, which is the trial court’s formal document listing criminal charges
Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers use the preliminary hearing as a vehicle to:
- Determine how strong the case is against our client: Were witnesses credible? Did the police perform a thorough investigation? Should we advise the client to settle the case?
- Test out the defense theory of the case through extensive cross-examination, and calling affirmative defense witnesses to establish the defendant is not guilty. The only drawback to presenting defense witnesses at such an early stage of criminal proceedings is that, if the case is not dismissed, prosecutors preview the defense and fix their proof problems before trial through additional preparation and investigation.
Our criminal lawyers like to think outside the box in aggressively defending our clients. Our law firm’s defense efforts at preliminary hearings have led to criminal charges being dismissed and reduced. Alternatively, they have led to prosecutors plea-bargaining the case away after realizing that their case has major proof problems.
Contact a Los Angeles preliminary hearing lawyer to discuss your case.