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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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Learn More About Preliminary Hearings

Going to trial can be a very stressful situation. But in some cases, certain charges may not even need to go to a formal trial. Instead, a preliminary can be held where a judge can determine whether or not the defendant needs to stand trial.

Not all criminal cases are grounds for holding a preliminary hearing. These hearings are held when a defendant pleads “not guilty” at their arraignment. A preliminary hearing is held to decide whether or not a case is strong enough to go on to a formal trial. The prosecution has to show enough evidence to sustain that the defendant did commit a crime – enough for the hearing to move on to a proper trial.

During a preliminary hearing, a judge will listen to both sides – prosecution and the defendant, or their attorney if the defendant is being represented. The prosecution will bring forth what they feel would be enough evidence to move the hearing along to a proper trial. The prosecution can also introduce any witnesses to testify at the preliminary hearing. On the other hand, the defense will step in with the argument that the case is not strong enough and should not go on to trial.

There are various ways a preliminary hearing can be won. For example, if a cross-examination of a witness reveals that their testimony is unreliable or missing details, the testimony may be weak enough to have the defendant’s charges dismissed or reduced. But a witness can miss the hearing altogether, therefore contributing no testimony whatsoever.

The main benefit to winning a preliminary trial is the dismissal or reduction of charges the defendant may be facing. One’s record can remain untarnished or at least significantly less affected than if had gone on to trial.

If you are seeking criminal defense, contact a lawyer who could help. Contact the law office of John W. Tumelty to schedule a case evaluation. Call 609-390-4600 or contact online today.

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