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All About Preliminary Hearings or "Prelims"
Preliminary hearings, often referred to as "prelims," require the prosecutor to show enough credible evidence to a judge to convince that judge to send the case on to trial.
The Difference Between a Preliminary Hearing and a Trial
The preliminary hearing tests the prosecutor's decision to bring the case and serves to protect individuals from unfounded criminal charges.
Arraignment: Getting to Court
People who have been arrested—particularly those who haven’t bailed out of jail or been released on their own recognizance—want to know when they’ll get in front of a judge for their arraignment.
How Should I Plead at Arraignment?
At some point in the early stages of criminal proceedings, whether at the first court appearance or a later arraignment, judges ask defendants how they choose to plead.
Criminal Charges: How Cases Get Started
A criminal case usually gets started with a police arrest report. The prosecutor then decides what criminal charges to file, if any.
How Innocent Defendants Handle Criminal Charges
Even the most well-intentioned prosecutors file charges against innocent suspects occasionally. Other than going to trial, how can innocent defendants avoid trial, a guilty plea, or verdict?
Why Prosecutors Choose Grand Juries Instead of Preliminary Hearings
The grand jury process is prosecutor-friendly.
Criminal Courtroom Layout
Just about everything that happens in a courtroom can seem confusing to someone who hasn’t experienced the justice system firsthand. Even the courtroom itself can be confounding.