Preliminary hearings are mostly won by the prosecution. This is probably because the prosecutor just needs to show that there is reasonable evidence to suspect you of the crime. However, there are also a few cases where the defendant may win the preliminary hearing. For example, you may succeed in getting the case dismissed at this stage if the following happens.

Eye Witness Account Crumbles under Cross-Examination

Although a preliminary hearing is different from an actual trial, it doesn't mean that you and your legal team will just sit down and accept everything dished by the prosecution. For example, if the prosecution unleashes evidence or eyewitness accounts that are highly contradictory to what you know, then you can challenge those accounts.

If there is a significant difference between the witness accounts and the original accounts of the alleged crime, then the judge may dismiss the case. This is likely to be the case if the witness's testimony was the only or major thing connecting you to the crime.

Consider an example where it is alleged that you were selling drugs at a street corner. Suppose an eye witness describes you as wearing blue jeans, white sneakers, and carrying a backpack. In that case, he or she must stick to the same description during cross-examination. If it emerges that you were not wearing jeans, and you were not carrying anything, let alone a backpack, then you can use the inconsistency to weaken the case against you.

The Key Witness Is Refusing to Testify

A key witness is one whose testimony is so crucial to the case that the prosecutor has no case (or has a very weak one) without him or her. An example of a key witness is the sole witness of a criminal incident. If such a witness refuses to show up in court or testify, then the prosecution has a very weak case.

He or she may be compelled to do so, but only if he or she doesn't have the immunity that your state's laws grant some parties. For example, in many states, your spouse may not be compelled to testify against you unless you have been accused of a

  • crime of violence against your family or a minor
  • sexual crime against your spouse, child, or any other person

Of course, this is only the case your state's laws do not allow police officers to relay witness accounts, but must bring the witnesses to testify in person.

As you can see, it is difficult, but not impossible, to get your case dismissed at the preliminary hearing. This means that you should explain to your attorneys, such as The Law Office of Gregory J. Hermiller, LLC, the full and accurate account of your arrest. He or she may know how to use them to get your case dismissed before it goes too far.