It is the legal right of every citizen in West Virginia to obtain a preliminary hearing after an arraignment and before going to trial. These hearings exist to determine before a judge whether or not there is enough evidence to provide a probable cause that the crime occurred and to verify that the suspected crime happened within the court's jurisdiction. When charged with any form of a criminal act resulting in a felony this hearing allows the defendant to receive assistance from an attorney to procure necessary evidence.
Often called the trial before the trial, these evidentiary hearings provide for the individual charged with the crime to prepare a defense soon after the criminal complaint is filed. This allows for any witnesses to speak on behalf of the individual while their account of the situation is fresh in their minds, whereas trial cases can be almost a year from the date of the charges. If taken to trial, these witnesses will often be called to appear again in court. These hearings do not decide if the individual is guilty or innocent, but rather to decide if the case is valid or non-existent. When there is not sufficient evidence, the judge may drop the charges and decide there is no probable cause to take the case to trial.
Ensuring Your Right to a Hearing
Preliminary hearings are not only essential to determining the validity of a case; they are a legal right to each individual in this state. If you are facing criminal charges and have not been granted an evidentiary hearing, it is vital that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. When given a hearing, having a lawyer who is experienced in a multitude of criminal defense cases there to defend you is absolutely critical to your case. With varying laws and court practices, not having a legal representative can make or break your case, resulting in the possibility that you go to trial on false accounts.
This could cost time and money and result in being wrongly convicted, facing serious consequences and losing out on your freedom. Seek out the help of Attorney Frank Walker whose past record of positive case results speaks of his dedication and focus to each client. Our firm is ready to prepare a case on your behalf and guide you through the preliminary hearing process. Do not attempt to figure out the complicated legal system on your own and risk your future.