Preliminary Hearings are held in District Court before one of four District Court Judges. These hearings are held in felony cases at the request of the defendant to determine “probable cause.” This hearing is held when the case has not yet been presented to the Mobile County Grand Jury. If the grand jury hears the case and finds probable cause before the preliminary hearing can be scheduled, the defendant is not entitled to the preliminary hearing.
The preliminary hearing gives the defendant and his or her attorney an opportunity to hear a portion of the evidence the state has against the defendant in the case, and can have a bearing on how the defense is prepared.
Misdemeanor cases are crimes where the punishment is one year or less. Examples of misdemeanors are: theft in the third degree (elements of theft 3rd are: property taken must not exceed $500 in value and which is not taken from the person of another), harassment, assault in the third degree (elements of assault in the third degree are: intent to cause physical injury, recklessly causes physical injury to another person by means of deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, and/or with intent to prevent a peace officer from performing a lawful duty, causes physical injury to any person), criminal trespassing, criminal non-support, and issuing worthless checks.
Our office prosecutes cases made by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department and the Alabama State Troopers.