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Should I waive my right to a preliminary hearing?

Baltimore, MD |

I am being charged with sexual solicitation of a minor after being part of an undercover online investigation. I am currently seeking counsel but while deciding on a lawyer, I cannot find anyone who can give me straightforward advice on this. I must file for the hearing by the end of the day today.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    While sometimes the defense learns something new about the prosecution's case, often the hearing doesn't reveal anything new. However, if the defendant is not in custody, some prosecutors and judges might say that "new information" in the preliminary hearing justifies raising or revoking bail, which means that if you have the hearing, you might get locked up. While you may cross examine the witness(es) that the prosecution chooses to call, you may not call witnesses of your own or testify. It is rare that the court dismisses charges at a preliminary hearing. Even if it did, the prosecutor could seek new charges by asking the grand jury to indict. In addition anything you say might be used against you. This is serious like a heart attack. Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney, or if you cannot afford to do so, then apply to the public defender for an appointed one ASAP.

    Information in the reply is provided as a public service. It is neither a comprehensive statement of the law nor legal advice, and no one should rely on it as such. If you have a legal problem or question, you should consult with an attorney, who can investigate the particular circumstances of your situation. Responding to a post does not constitute legal representation. I am not your lawyer, until we make an agreement and I receive my fee. Beware that posts and replies are not confidential. Anyone can read them.


  2. As I typically explain to my similarly situated clients, and at the risk of a double negative: I cant think of any reason NOT to request a preliminary hearing in any case in Maryland State Court.

    Michael G. DeHaven
    Smith, Gildea & Schmidt, LLC
    600 Washington Avenue
    Suite 200
    Towson, MD 21204
    (410) 821-0070

    Please be advised that this response does not constitute "legal advice," nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek counsel of an attorney before taking any actions or deciding not to take any actions.


  3. I would never recommend that a defendant NOT have a preliminary hearing UNLESS, based on a reading of the then current charges and police reports, I thought it in his/her best interest. Deending on particular state criminal procedures, a preliminary hearing can be a place to conduct some discovery and / or shape the charges a defendant may face later.
    Unelss you have entered a plea and completed arraignmen and are representing yourself, I cannot and do not understand why you are being forced into a decision now.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.


  4. As a lawyer, I always request a preliminary hearing. If you know what you are doing you can get a lot of useful information to help in your defense.

    The materials contained in this answer are provided as a public service and on an informational basis. These materials are not intended to be a comprehensive statement of Maryland law, and are not intended to convey legal advice. I answer all questions. However, this does not constitute legal representation. I am not your lawyer until you pay me money. If you have a legal problem, you should consult with an attorney who can investigate the particular circumstances of your situation. If you need an attorney, you may contact me 410-828-9363 and I will be more than happy to give you a free initial consultation.