Call or Text Us Today! (928) 753-6868

Legal News

Trial Attorney Explains a Preliminary Hearing

Posted by Shawn B. Hamp | May 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is a Preliminary Hearing?

Let's say you or someone you know has been charged with a crime and their case is in the Justice Court. The case is probably set for a preliminary hearing and you might be wondering what's next.

So, the preliminary hearing is set after the initial appearance. If a defendant is in custody, it must be held within 10 days. If the defendant is out of custody, it will be held in 20 days.

When a case is in the Justice Court, a criminal case, there has to be a determination of probable cause before the case is transferred to the Superior Court. So, this determination of probable cause can be made either by the Grand Jury or it can be made by the Justice Court.

The preliminary hearing itself is kind of like a mini-trial. The State has to put on witnesses to prove that there's probable cause that the offense was committed. Now, probable cause is a much lower standard than a criminal trial, proof beyond a reasonable doubt. So, there's a very low threshold that the State has to prove that the crime was committed.

Now, in Mohave County, most determinations of probable cause are made at the Grand Jury level. So, even though a Justice Court is required to set the case for a preliminary hearing, there may not be necessarily a preliminary hearing conducted. And, the preliminary hearing could be vacated if a super [inaudible 01:53] indictment is true billed by a Grand Jury, or there may be some other matters that occur at a preliminary hearing such as a change of plea for a misdemeanor or there could be a waiver or a preliminary hearing, maybe in exchange for an offer being held open in the Superior Court or maybe an agreement to reduce bail.

If you have a question about a criminal case, please pick up the phone and give my office a call. Let's find out if your case is something we can help you with. Call my office at 928-753-6868 or visit my website at

About the Author

Shawn B. Hamp

President and lead counsel for The Hamp Law Offices, LLC (An Arizona Professional Corporation), Shawn Hamp has practiced law for more than 15 years with an emphasis in criminal law. An experienced trial attorney, Mr. Hamp has been lead counsel in hundreds of criminal trials and court...


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you may be feeling frightened, anxious, and uncertain of what your future holds. The competent and experienced attorneys at the Hamp Law Offices can help you during this difficult time. We are dedicated to fighting for the rights of our clients and providing excellent legal representation to those who have been accused of a crime. Contact our firm today to discuss your case.