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Chicago Preliminary Hearings Attorney
If you or someone you know were arrested for a felony, state law requires either a grand jury indictment or a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to charge you. At a preliminary hearing, both sides can present evidence and witnesses, but only a prosecutor may present evidence to a grand jury. The first court date after your Bail Hearing will be a Preliminary Hearing date.
Basically, a Preliminary Hearing is a short hearing before a judge, to determine whether probable cause exists to believe that a crime was committed and that you are the one that committed that crime. Probable cause, for Preliminary Hearing purposes, is different than what people commonly consider probable cause to be. For Preliminary Hearing purposes, probable cause simply means that the judge is convinced by a preponderance of the evidence (more probably true than not true) that there’s enough evidence to charge you with a crime and eventually put you on trial for that crime.
Strict time limits for a Preliminary Hearing apply. If you are in custody, the Preliminary Hearing must happen within 30 days of your arrest. If you are free on bond, the Preliminary Hearing must happen within 60 days of your arrest. However, if the state does not hold a Preliminary Hearing within these strict time limits, this does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed forever. In most cases, if they do not hold the Preliminary Hearing within 30 or 60 days, the State will Strike the Case With Leave to Reinstate (SOL), which usually means that the case is over, but in more serious cases, the state will go to a Grand Jury and at least attempt to indict you by Grand Jury within this time period.
Importance of Preliminary Hearing
The Preliminary Hearing stage of a criminal case is a very important part of a criminal case that requires the services of an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. There’s several reasons why you need a good lawyer for a Preliminary Hearing. First of all, it’s the first chance that you and your lawyer will get to confront the state and challenge their case. It’s the first chance that the state gets to show their cards and test the strengths of their case. It’s an opportunity for you and your lawyer to see what evidence the state has and what they don’t have against you. A court reporter will be recording all the questions asked and the answers provided by the witnesses. If a witness changes their story at trial, the statements made by the witness at the Preliminary Hearing can be used to show that they are not telling the truth. A second reason that it is important to have an experienced and knowledgeable Preliminary Hearing criminal defense lawyer by your side at a Preliminary Hearing is because if the state is unable to meet the strict time requirements in which to hold a Preliminary Hearing, and the State is forced to SOL their case, an experienced and knowledgeable Preliminary Hearing criminal defense lawyer will know what to do to start the clock ticking on limiting the amount of time that the state has to indict you by a Grand Jury.
Chicago Preliminary Hearing Attorney
Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer William Carlos Weeden will work to protect your rights during the Preliminary Hearing process with compassion and understanding. Whether the ultimate goal is to challenge police procedure, negotiate a fair plea deal for the case, or to fight the charges at trial, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney William Carlos Weeden is with you every step of the way. Contact our office at (773) 683-1060, to see how an Illinois Criminal Defense lawyer can help protect your freedom.
Call us: 773.683.1060 Criminal Matters 24hrs/7days
Law Office of William Carlos Weeden
The information on this website has been provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor create an attorney-client relationship or warrant that a certain result will be attained in a specific case. The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the certificate, award or recognition is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois. We encourage you to contact us or another legal professional for advice regarding your individual situation.