Preliminary Hearing

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  • An evidentiary hearing that takes place early in the criminal process to determine if there is probable cause to establish (1) that the alleged crime took place in the jurisdiction of the court and (2) that the person charged with the crime could have committed the crime. If probable cause is established, a formal charging document known as “information” is issued. Some jurisdictions use grand jury proceedings instead of preliminary hearings. At the end of the preliminary hearing, the judge schedules a date for the arraignment.

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