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What Happens During a Preliminary Examination in Ohio

What happens in a preliminary examination in Ohio may include testimony by witnesses, as well as discussion between attorneys.

Posted 5 years ago by Jim Titus

If a loved one has been arrested in Ohio, you are well aware that there will be several court hearings to attend in the near future. The first step in the court process is usually an arraignment, and a preliminary examination takes place about two weeks later. Following is what you can expect to happen during a preliminary examination in Ohio, as well as other basic information about the hearing.

How a Preliminary Examination Works in Ohio

A preliminary examination in Ohio typically only takes place for felony cases. Sometimes, attorneys will hold a pre-trial conference in order to try to resolve the case.A preliminary examination is like a mini trial but without a jury. It takes place before a judge about two weeks after the arraignment. During the preliminary, the prosecutor can call witnesses and present evidence, and the defense attorney can cross examine the witnesses.

Guilt or innocence is not determined at these preliminary hearings. Their main purpose is to determine whether or not there is enough evidence for the case to proceed.

In some cases, preliminary examinations don’t take place at all. Instead the attorneys will hold a pre-trial conference in order to try to resolve the case.

Generally, preliminary examinations only take place for felony cases.

Waiving Preliminary Hearings

In many cases, preliminary hearings are waived. This is not a reflection of guilt or innocence. In fact, when they are waived, it means the case will be sent directly to a higher court to begin the full trial process. Here are some reasons your attorney may recommend that a preliminary examination be waived:

  • There is little to no chance that the case will be dismissed.
  • Evidence discussed at the preliminary would reflect poorly on the defendant.
  • Doing so would avoid any unnecessary costs to the defendant or criminal justice system.

Proceeding with a preliminary hearing may be advantageous if there is any chance the case will be dismissed or if the defense attorney can obtain certain facts for the record from witnesses.

Only a qualified attorney can determine the best route to take in your case.

Contact us if you need bail bonds in Ohio.


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