PITTSBURGH PRELIMINARY HEARING LAWYER
WHAT IS A PRELIMINARY HEARING?
The preliminary hearing is one of the most important stages of your case. At the preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth is required to prove a prima facie case against you, or in other words, that each crime with which you are charged was committed and that it is more likely than not that you were the person to commit that crime. There are many instances where the Commonwealth will attempt to meet this burden by improperly offering inadmissible evidence (i.e. hearsay) against you.
In reality, the preliminary hearing is much more than an evidentiary hearing – it’s your first possible opportunity to have some or all of your charges reduced or withdrawn. If your case proceeds to a hearing, this will be the first time you hear testimony and see other forms of evidence that may be offered against you in trial.
The DA's goal at the preliminary hearing phase is to get you to give up your right to a preliminary hearing without giving up anything in return. If unrepresented, the DA will send the arresting officer out to talk to you directly, where he or she may make false promises in the hopes that you will give up your right to have a hearing.
CAN MY CHARGES BE REDUCED OR WITHDRAWN AT THE PRELIMINARY HEARING?
Many of our best case results weren't obtained after a long and grueling trial but at the preliminary hearing. Don't lose out on the opportunity to end your case early by not hiring a committed preliminary hearing lawyer to represent you.
Our experienced preliminary hearing attorneys will work to negotiate a withdrawal or dismissal of felony, misdemeanor and summary charges if the circumstances are appropriate. If this occurs, you would then be eligible to expunge those charges from your criminal record.
Even in cases where the charges cannot be fully withdrawn, it is still possible to negotiate one of the following results:
- Summary Plea: Plea to a non-traffic offense for fines and court costs only, ending with the withdrawal of misdemeanor or felony charges.
- Save Your Driving Privileges: By having serious traffic and non-traffic charges withdrawn that carry mandatory license suspensions
- Bond Reduction: Negotiating a non-monetary or reduced cash bail.
- Negotiate a Plea Agreement: For cases that cannot be resolved at the magistrate's office, the prosecuting attorney may extend a favorable written plea offer to you at the preliminary hearing.
WHEN SHOULD I HAVE A PRELIMINARY HEARING?
Having a court reporter record your preliminary hearing may be in your best interest if your case may end up going to trial in the future. At the preliminary hearing, you will be able to hear some of the testimony and evidence that may be presented against you in the future, and explore whether or not your constitutional rights were violated. The decision on whether or not to have a hearing should be made after consulting with a criminal defense lawyer.
CALL THE EXPERIENCED PRELIMINARY HEARING LAWYERS OF THE ZUCKERMAN LAW FIRM
You should never waive your right to have a preliminary hearing without speaking to a qualified criminal defense attorney first. The Pittsburgh preliminary hearing attorneys at the Zuckerman Law Firm will fight to hold the Commonwealth to its burden at all phases of your prosecution with one ultimate goal in mind - seeking the dismissal of your case. For a free consultation, please call 412-447-5580.