Hearings / Trials

Preliminary Hearing

In felony cases your first appearance will be for the preliminary examination. It is not a trial, it is a hearing at which a judge determines whether the defendant should stand trial in Superior Court. Normally only a part of the evidence is presented at this time.


The trial of a felony case will ordinarily occur from one to three months after the preliminary hearing. In some exceptional cases it will be longer. Witnesses must testify at a trial, even though they were thoroughly questioned at the preliminary hearing. Often, the defendant will plead guilty after the preliminary hearing and you will not receive a second subpoena.

In misdemeanor cases there is only one hearing and no preliminary hearing; therefore your testimony will be required only once. Your subpoena will indicate the type of hearing at which you will be appearing.

Parts of a Jury Trial

  1. The jury is selected
  2. The prosecutor gives an opening statement to outline the case and evidence to the jury
  3. The defense may give a similar opening statement, or wait until later in the trial
  4. The prosecutor calls witnesses, which the defense may cross examine
  5. The defense may call witnesses, which the prosecutor may cross examine
  6. The prosecutor may present rebuttal witnesses / evidence to challenge the evidence presented by the defendant
  7. The prosecutor presents a closing argument to the jury
  8. The defense presents a closing argument to the jury
  9. The prosecutor presents a rebuttal argument to respond to the defense closing argument
  10. The judge gives the jury detailed legal instructions about the charged crimes, the deliberation process, etc.
  11. The jury deliberates and returns a verdict