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Question about preliminary hearing in criminal case

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

I have a prelim coming up for a case that isn't very serious (doesn't involve jail time most likely) and I just wanted to know how long it normally takes and what usually happens. Also am I allowed to speak? I will have private counsel but is it ok for te defendant to speak as well or no? Thanks!

Attorney Answers 4


Prelim's can last a couple hours to a couple days. You have the right to testify but I would NEVER advice a defendant to testify. Anything you say at the hearing can be used against you at trial.
If you have private counsel they should have to prepared you as to this issue. If you don't feel adequately represented or simply want a 2nd opinion get me a call, 949-464-8073, the number rings in my pocket.

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It is impossible for anyone to answer this except your lawyer. None of us know the case, number of witnesses, DA, judge or charges involved.

Preliminary Hearings (Prelims) are hearings to determine if a crime was committed and if there is any basis to belive the person charged may have done it. It is like a mini trial where the prosecution calls witnesses to testify about what happened. It is not a full blown trial and the prosecution isn't required to present all of its evidence. It is a very low threshold for the prosecution to win.

I have had Prelims last only 20 minutes. I have also had them last up to six weeks. I have had few I thought were only going to take an afternoon end up spilling over into the next day.

As far as speaking at the Prelim, you should discuss it with your attorney. Many clients have done damage to their case by speaking at the wrong time or speaking when their attorney tells them not to. So, consult with your lawyer and ask him/her about speaking.

Reliance on any information in this website is at the sole risk of the user and the user understands that he or she should consult with an attorney before taking a course of action based upon information contained in this website. The information on this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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You have private counsel, use it! None of us can even being to answer your question ethically.

All my comments here are intended for general legal purposes. None of my comments here establish an attorney-client relationship with anyone. None of my comments should be relied on in taking legal action without first consulting an attorney.

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Speak or testify? Frankly, I would advise neither. Follow your attorney's advice, which I'm sure will be to remain silent. Testimony is preserved and can be used against you later, while the court will not allow you to simply speak.

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