Skip to main content

The Preliminary Hearing

Posted by attorney Paul Adras

In Nevada, if a defendant is charged with either a gross misdemeanor or a felony, the court will schedule the matter for a preliminary hearing in the county's justice court facility. Following the preliminary hearing, the judge determines if probable cause exists to bind the defendant over to the county's district court to answer to the charges against him/her. During the preliminary hearing, the prosecution must only demonstrate by slight or marginal evidence (which is a very low burden of proof standard), that the defendant committed the criminal conduct alleged. The State must present witnesses and evidence at the preliminary hearing. This allows defense counsel to preview the case and examine some of the evidence the prosecution will attempt to use at trial. Witnesses presented by the prosecution testify under oath during the preliminary hearing. This testimony can then be used by the prosecution and defense at the time of the trial of the matter. During the preliminary hearing, the State may amend, add or even dismiss charges against a defendant. The justice of the peace has the authority to dismiss charges in the criminal complaint or information if the prosecution fails to meet its burden of proof (see above) as to any of the specific charges alleged in the charging document.

Additional resources provided by the author

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?