Preliminary Hearings are rarely held. We will appear with you to review the State’s case and possibly challenge the probable cause for the “Complaint” with an actual hearing. If no “Plea Agreement” is reached, or no hearing is held, we then have the case sent from the Regional Court Center to the Downtown Superior Court (i.e., “Straight Waived”). The next court date will be a “Not Guilty Arraignment”, which are always held in either the Central Court Building or East Court Building located at 201 and 101 W. Jefferson in downtown Phoenix.
Sometimes Preliminary Hearings are “Scratched”. This just means that the prosecutor was unprepared to proceed that day and he has the ability to refile your case anywhere up to 7 years from the date of violation. Normally the case will be refiled within 6 to 9 months. When it is refiled, then the process starts all over again with an “Initial Appearance”.
Sometimes Preliminary Hearings are “Vacated”. This means that the State has decided to proceed by way of “Grand Jury” in order to determine probable cause to issue an “Indictment”. (See Indictment). They usually do this on the more serious felonies (class 1, 2, 3), and to avoid good defense attorneys from successfully challenging their probable cause in front of a Judge with a Preliminary Hearing. This normally will occur within several weeks after the court date has been vacated, although the prosecutor still has up to 7 years from the date of violation to do this. Once an indictment is handed down, then we will begin all over again with an “Initial Appearance” (see Initial Appearance). If a Defendant is in custody, normally the indictment will be handed down within 10 days of the case being vacated. During this time period, the Defendant will still be held in custody pending the Grand Jury’s outcome.
Contact DM Cantor and speak to an attorney about Preliminary Hearings.