Preliminary Hearings

COURT NOTICE ON VIRTUAL PRELIMINARY HEARINGS DURING COVID:

Due to COVID, you must file a motion requesting a preliminary hearing. All Preliminary hearings will be held virtually until further notice.

The Court requests that Defense counsel communicate with the District Attorney’s office regarding possible consent bonds, pre-scheduling issues, hearing dates and other matters before submitting a motion for hearing.

However, a Consent is not required for a hearing to be scheduled. If no proposed date is submitted with the motion, the matter will be scheduled approximately two weeks from the date of the request.

By submitting the hearing motion, Defense counsel acknowledges that the right to confrontation of witnesses will be virtual, not in-person.

As with other hearings, the clerk will send hearing notices to the attorneys and a request to the Sheriff’s jail staff to make the Defendant available. The attorneys will send notification and hearing information to their witnesses.

For more information please see this flyer.

Virtual Preliminary Hearings during COVID

The Criminal Division of the DeKalb County Magistrate Court holds preliminary hearings on felony cases at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The purpose of a preliminary hearing is to determine whether there is sufficient reason (probable cause) to believe the defendant committed the crime(s) alleged in the warrant(s) that have been issued against the defendant. If probable cause exists the case is sent to the Superior Court. The District Attorney’s office will investigate the case further and decide on further prosecution. The decision of the Magistrate Court does not determine the guilt or innocence of the defendant. Defendants are entitled to be represented by a private attorney of their own choosing or may be represented by an attorney from the Public Defender’s Office. 

During the hearing the State will present evidence they believe shows probable cause. The defendant’s attorney has the right to cross examine any witness called by the State. The defense can also call witnesses, but that is rarely done at a preliminary hearing. The judge may also reconsider the defendant’s bond, as appropriate.