I have a preliminary hearing tomorrow. What should I do?
Never, Ever, Try to Represent Yourself
Without a strategic and effective legal argument, it will be extremely difficult to defend yourself and your rights against the charges being filed against you. If you are forced by circumstances to go to court without legal counsel, ask the court for an adjournment so that you can get an attorney.
Seek and Enlist the Services of a Lawyer
Seek the services of a lawyer who is experienced in criminal law and has a record of success. While no lawyer can ever guarantee a specific outcome (and beware of one who does), an experienced attorney can mount legal defenses and constitutional challenges that you simply would not think of or know to apply. This will give you a much better chance of winning your case.
Know the Purpose of the Preliminary Hearing
At the preliminary hearing, the judge determines whether or not there is probable cause that a felony has been committed. If there’s not probable cause, the case is dismissed. If there is, however, a trial is set. Cases are rarely dismissed at this stage, but the defense can use the preliminary hearing to find holes in the prosecution’s case and to lock in witness testimony in preparation for the trial. At the preliminary hearing, the District Attorney may add additional charges and may attempt to “remand” the defendant back into custody, even if the defendant is currently out on bail.