Before you face formal charges in any case in Pennsylvania, there is a hearing to determine whether or not the state has a case. Success at a preliminary hearing means that the charges against you go no further.
Chieppor & Egner LLC, we are attorneys who used to work as prosecutors. Now we defend clients against charges from the very beginning. We have significant insight into the preliminary hearing process and can effectively defend you there. Our goal is to build a comprehensive, immediate defense so you can move on with your life.
Typically, the court schedules a preliminary hearing within ten days of your arrest, but it can take longer. Because the schedule for the hearing is so soon after the arrest, waiting to select representation is costly. You have little time to prepare, and that’s a problem because the burden of proof is much lower.
Typically, in a criminal trial, the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is a high standard of proof. However, in the preliminary hearing, the judge must decide only if there’s enough evidence for someone to believe the defendant could be guilty. The evidence in these cases doesn’t need to stand up to intense scrutiny, only paint a basic outline of guilt.
While ending charges at a preliminary hearing can be difficult, it’s not impossible. With an aggressive defense, the evidence presented may not paint the picture that the prosecution hopes. If the judge is not convinced of the state’s case, even at the low burden of proof, the case ends there.
Even if you do not prevail in your preliminary hearing, a persuasive case in the hearing can have an impact on the formal trial.
We’ll move quickly and take immediate action to help you stay in control of your case. We’ll fight for you and work hard to secure your freedom and keep your record clean. Contact us for a consultation at our Lancaster office by sending an email.