If you are on trial, the next step in the process is the indictment. In most counties and Philadelphia, there is very little going on in the indictment, and most private lawyers waive the charge, so you don`t have to show up. The official indictment is a hearing in which a judge or commissioner informs the defendant of the charges that survived the original trial and asks how he or she pleads. At the hearing, a qualified law enforcement officer may testify by hearsay. Hearsay is an extrajudicial testimony of someone. Often, the victim and other witnesses do not testify. A defendant will not receive a conviction or even a determination of guilt or innocence at the preliminary hearing. Instead, the purpose of the hearing is only to determine whether or not the Commonwealth can prove prima facie that the accused committed the accused crimes, so the case should move to trial level. Since the judge finds the defendant not guilty or not guilty, there is no criminal matter that would follow the hearing. It is possible that the charges will be dismissed and the case will be closed, but an accused would never be convicted or sentenced after the trial. Some of the objectives of the defense lawyer at the preliminary hearing will be as follows: An accused accused of a crime may waive the right to a preliminary hearing under the Penal Code 860.
This is usually done for: Although there is a right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses and present witnesses to the defense in a preliminary round, the rules are very different. For example, the rules of evidence do not apply with the same force as in court. The rules of evidence are applied much more flexibly, and it is clear under Pennsylvania law that at least some hearsay is allowed at the hearing under Pennsylvania Rule of Criminal Procedure 542(E). A typical preliminary hearing can last between half an hour and several hours., Some only last a few minutes, but even a short preliminary hearing can be crucial for your defense. Preliminary hearings are held before a judge alone, without a jury. The judge does not decide whether you are guilty or not, but simply whether the charge against you can move forward. If you drop out of the hearing in exchange for a reduction in charges, the prosecution often reserves the right to reintroduce the withdrawn charges without a new hearing if you choose to go to court instead of pleading guilty. Whether you should waive the hearing therefore depends on the jurisdiction and offer of the government. It generally does not make sense to waive it unless there is a fixed offer on the table that the defendant wants to accept, or unless there is a requirement in that district that the hearing be cancelled in exchange for ARD consideration.
Sometimes the first time you find out you`re charged with a crime is as simple as finding an envelope in your mailbox. Some people discover that they are accused of a crime because they are arrested by the police, registered and brought before a judge. For those who are not arrested, law enforcement agencies can lay non-criminal charges in the form of a “subpoena” by mail from the court. Seeing your name on documents titled “Criminal Complaint” or “Notice of Preliminary Hearing” can be the beginning of an overwhelming and life-changing process. A preliminary hearing will follow shortly. Even if you haven`t done anything wrong, it needs to be taken seriously and dealt with quickly to ensure the best possible outcome for your future. You can also expect your lawyer to be in talks with the police and the prosecutor no later than your preliminary hearing. Sometimes your lawyer will talk to you about moving your case forward without a hearing or “forgoing” the preliminary hearing in anticipation of a future benefit.
If you appear without a lawyer, the other party will most likely ask you if you want to forgo your hearing. A waiver is a serious decision with lasting consequences and requires careful consideration and discussion with a lawyer. In order to waive the right to be heard, the defendant must: There are also many reasons not to waive the preliminary hearing. In some cases, the investigation: Once all the evidence has been completed and the defendant`s explanation, if any, the court will do one of three things: (1) determine that there is probable reason to believe that the alleged crime or other crime was committed and that the defendant committed it, and will bind the defendant to the common pleas court; (2) determine that there is a probable reason why an offence was committed and that the defendant committed it, and maintain the case for trial or order the defendant to appear at trial; or (3) order the release of the defendant. .