Felony Case Process
In a criminal case, the first step is the arraignment.  At the arraignment the
Court may allow motions to be filed and a preliminary hearing will be set
within ten (10) Court days of the arraignment, unless a waiver of the time limit
is taken.

After arraignment, the prosecution will customarily issue subpoenas for
witnesses and victims to appear on the preliminary hearing date.  The
prosecution issues subpoenas to a witness whenever the prosecution will rely
on a witness for testimony at the preliminary hearing; the issuance of a
subpoena does not mean the preliminary hearing is more or less likely to
happen, nor does it reflect on the strength or weakness of the case.  It is
merely a normal part of preparation.

The next step is a pre-preliminary hearing conference.  At this stage the
attorney and prosecutor discuss the case in chambers with the judge.  The
defense may ask for information  and evidence from the prosecution, called
discovery.  The attorneys and Long Beach Court also try to negotiate a
resolution acceptable to both sides.  Defendants do not participate in the pre-
preliminary hearing conference although your personal appearance in Court
is required.  This stage of the process gives the defense attorney all the
evidence the prosecution intends to use in the case, time to consider and
explore the evidence, and an opportunity to make efforts at resolving the

The third step in the felony criminal process is the preliminary hearing.  Many
cases are resolved prior to the preliminary hearing.

If a case cannot be resolved prior to the hearing, another attempt will be
made on the day of the hearing itself.  If the case cannot be resolved the
defense will announce “ready” for  preliminary hearing. Depending on
prosecution readiness and the availability of a courtroom, the preliminary
hearing may be heard sometime that day, or may “trail” until it can be heard.

At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution must simply present evidence that
there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime or
crimes charged.  California law permits the prosecutor to meet this burden by
calling only one law enforcement officer who investigated the case.  A
criminal defense attorney is allowed to cross examine all
witnesses in order to establish weaknesses in the state's case. The
prosecution does not have to prove the case beyond a reasonable
doubt at the preliminary hearing(that standard only applies at trial).  
Therefore, it is usually not difficult for the prosecution to “win” the preliminary

If the Court finds there is probable cause to believe the defendant committed
the charged offense, the defendant is “bound over” for trial and the case is
transferred to the Trial Court (sometimes referred to as Superior Court).  In
Superior Court, the defendant is once again arraigned , the case is set for
trial, and the case is ultimately tried before a jury if no resolution is

A Long Beach Criminal Defense Attorney is essential to obtain the best
results in any given case.  Call our attorneys to discuss how we can help.

                                      Toll free 1-877-212-2090