What is a Preliminary Hearing and Should You Waive the Hearing?
I’ve written previous articles on preliminary hearing strategies specifically those involving illegal guns, drugs and violent felonies. Remember that a preliminary hearing is the initial evidentiary hearing where the burden of proof is on the Commonwealth (prosecution) to prove that a crime occurred and that the accused was more than likely the person who committed the crime.
Don't underestimate its importance in your criminal defense even though its not a trial. Frequently assistant district attorneys expect defendants to waive these hearings in exchange for an agreement to lower bail, dismiss minor charges that were added to the lead charge, or simply gain some mitigation for the purposes of an eventual plea. I've met some however who for some reason expect defense lawyers to waive the hearing for nothing in exchange at all; that is a huge mistake
There are situations where waiving a preliminary hearing makes strategic sense but this is only after a careful evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of going forward with it. If your criminal defense lawyer is advising you to move forward with the hearing his or strategies should focus on the following 3 points: