What is a preliminary hearing?
A preliminary hearing pertains to felony cases; taking the form of a mini-trial in which testimony is taken under oath and where the judge, defendant and defendant’s attorney, the prosecutor, and any victims or witnesses subpoenaed are present. At the preliminary hearing, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has to establish that: 1) a crime has been committed in Buchanan County; and 2) probable cause exists to believe that the defendant committed the crime. During this proceeding, the defendant’s attorney may cross-examine the state’s witnesses and produce any evidence, if he wishes. If probable cause is established, the judge will order that the defendant be “bound over” to Circuit Court for trial. In some cases, the defendant may waive (not demand) the preliminary hearing and the case will then be sent directly to Circuit Court for trial.

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1. What to do if contacted by the Defendant:
2. What is a subpoena?
3. What is an arrest warrant?
4. What happens to the person accused of a crime?
5. What is the purpose of bail?
6. What if I change my mind about prosecuting or testifying?
7. How are witnesses called?
8. What if someone threatens me to drop the charges?
9. What if the defense attorney contacts me about the case?
10. Can I be compensated for losses I have suffered as a victim?
11. What’s in it for me?
13. What is a preliminary hearing?
14. What does a victim or witness do in a preliminary hearing?
15. Are witnesses permitted to be in the courtroom before and after testifying?
16. How does a case get dismissed?
17. What is a deposition?
18. What happens in a trial?
19. How and when is sentencing determined?
20. Does the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office really care about me?