In every felony case, a preliminary hearing is required. The hearing’s purpose is to test the sufficiency of the evidence to determine whether the case merits continued attention. The accused can waive such a hearing and give up his or her right to such a hearing, but this is rarely done. If the evidence is deemed insufficient, the case is dismissed.
Despite its name, a preliminary hearing is actually often the half-way point in a felony case (this includes cases involving both felony and misdemeanor charges). Although the hearing is required to be held within ten court days of an accused’s arraignment, the accused, or defendant, often waives time to allow the hearing to take place later. This can mean the preliminary hearing does not take place for several months.
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