Preliminary Hearing

The preliminary hearing is one of the most important procedures in the Florida criminal process. During the preliminary hearing, the evidence is reviewed to determine if there is enough evidence or probable cause to bring the case to trial.  The preliminary hearing is where evidence is reviewed to determine if probable cause exists. If there is not enough evidence or probable cause, the case cannot go to trial. An experienced Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer can use the preliminary hearing to have evidence thrown out, which could potentially lead to the dismissal of your case.


If you have been charged with a crime in Neptune Beach, Jacksonville, Green Cove Springs, St. Augustine Beach, Hilliard, Penney Farms, or the surrounding areas, contact Roelke Law. Bill Roelke will dedicate his time and energy into ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Call Roelke Law today at (904) 354-0333 for a consultation on your upcoming preliminary hearing. Your first consultation is free, and is a key instrument in helping you better understand the charges against you.

Probable Cause and the Florida Preliminary Hearing

The standard of probable cause in a preliminary hearing is whether or not a person could reasonably believe that the crime was more than likely committed and that it was more than likely the defendant who committed it, based on the evidence and circumstances of the case. For evidentiary matters, probable cause is where a person would believe that the defendant had committed, was committing, or was going to commit a crime and a search would produce evidence proving such.

If the prosecution is unable to prove probable cause in a preliminary hearing, the case can be thrown out.  If the prosecution can’t prove reasonable cause for evidence, that evidence may be disallowed.

Nonadversarial Preliminary Hearing

A probable cause determination based on a nonadversarial preliminary hearing can only occur if probable cause hasn’t already been determined by a judge.

There are two circumstances in which a nonadversarial probable cause determination can be made. The first is in a hearing within 48 hours of the defendant being arrested for a crime. The second is if a defendant who is on pretrial release requests a nonadversarial preliminary hearing on the grounds that his or her pretrial release conditions are a significant restraint on his or her liberty. The request for this type of hearing must be made within 21 days of the arrest.

Adversarial Preliminary Hearing

At an adversarial preliminary probable cause hearing, evidence can be presented to the judge, and witnesses may be examined and cross-examined.  During this hearing, the judge can determine if any evidence was obtained unlawfully or if the case lacks probable cause. Evidence obtained unlawfully may be thrown out, and if the case lacks probable cause, it may be dismissed.

If a defendant has been retained in custody or returned to custody by a nonadversarial probable cause determination, he or she has the right to an adversary preliminary hearing. Also, if a defendant has not been formally charged within 21 days of being arrested, he or she will be allowed an adversary preliminary hearing on the charge against him or her.

Roelke Law, P.A. | Jacksonville Preliminary Hearing Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges in Jacksonville, St. Augustine Beach, Green Cove Springs, Fernandina Beach, Baldwin, or the surrounding areas, contact Roelke Law today for a consultation about your allegations. Bill Roelke is a dedicated Jacksonville defense attorney who will review the evidence in your case and potentially prevent your case from ever going to trial.

Contact Bill Roelke at (904) 354-0333 for a consultation about your case. Your initial consultation is free and is a critical step in defending yourself against your allegations.

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