What Happens During Oklahoma Preliminary Hearings?
Essentially the preliminary hearing is a court hearing where witnesses testify and the judge decides whether there is enough evidence against you to order you to have a trial.
If you are charged with a felony in Oklahoma you have the right to a preliminary hearing. The Oklahoma Constitution guarantees all individuals charged by information with a felony the right to a Preliminary Hearing. A Preliminary Hearing is an evidentiary hearing in front of a judge at which the prosecution must present enough evidence to give the judge probable cause the alleged crime was committed. Specifically, the prosecutor must present enough evidence to show the court:
- probable cause that a crime was committed, and
- probable cause that the defendant committed the crime.
If the court believes there is enough evidence to believe a crime was committed and enough evidence to believe you committed the crime (probable cause), the court will “bind you over” for trial. If the court does not believe there is enough evidence, the case is dismissed. The prosecutor is not required to present all of their witnesses or all of the evidence they have collected. They are only required to present enough evidence to meet the probable cause standard. The judge, by law, must consider all the evidence in a light most favorable to the state. He must also assume the state’s case will get better by trial.
If you need an attorney to represent you at your preliminary hearing, contact us today or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW). Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.