What is a preliminary hearing, and do I need to be there?

A preliminary hearing is a legal process where the judge decides if there is enough evidence to send a defendant's charges to the Grand Jury. The judge, defendant, defendant's attorney, the prosecutor, and any necessary victims or witnesses are present at the proceeding. The prosecutor must prove to the judge that there is enough evidence to show that a crime has been committed. This involves putting on a minimal amount of evidence, in other words, enough evidence to justify further proceedings. If the prosecution establishes sufficient evidence, the case is certified to the Grand Jury.

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1. What is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor charge?
2. Why am I a witness? I didn't see the crime occur.
3. What if the defense attorney contacts me?
4. I was issued a subpoena for court. What happens if I don't show up?
5. What if my employer won't let me come to court?
6. Can I drop charges?
7. What is a preliminary hearing, and do I need to be there?
8. What is an advisement and why does the victim/witness not have to be present?
9. What is a grand jury and why does the victim/witness not need to be present?
10. Why are some misdemeanor cases not assigned to a prosecutor, leaving the victim/witness without legal representation at the court hearing?