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
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 case.
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 defendant's 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
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