Preliminary Hearing: Do I Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?

This video features Frank Walker, a Criminal Law attorney based in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Defense Lawyer Frank Walker

Video Transcript:

Rob Rosenthal:

Should you have a criminal defense attorney for a preliminary hearing, or should you wait to see what happens first? Let's ask Pennsylvania lawyer Frank Walker for an Ask The Lawyers Quick Question.

Frank Walker:

You need a criminal defense attorney at the preliminary hearing, because that's the most important part, in my mind, of the criminal process because it's the very beginning. You get a look, you get a look into what the case is about. For example, in Pennsylvania, there is a criminal homicide. It encompasses five crimes: murder, one, two and three; voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. So the Commonwealth will charge it as a general count of criminal homicide, so at the preliminary hearing, you're facing five charges within one, so you get to ask certain questions and get people under oath, you get a transcript of the proceeding, and the judge has two things to consider. One, was a crime committed? Two, are you more likely the person who committed the crime? So you definitely need a criminal defense attorney at the preliminary hearing. You can get charges reduced, charges dismissed or the whole case dismissed, but at a minimum, you get the testimony under oath, on the transcript, so you know exactly what you're facing down the road should it get that far.

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