Last Updated: November 20, 2023

Is a preliminary hearing required in misdemeanor cases?

A preliminary hearing (“preliminary examination” under the Utah State Constitution) is an opportunity for the court to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence to justify moving the case forward to trial. If the court finds that the evidence establishes probable cause to believe that a charged crime has occurred…

A preliminary hearing (“preliminary examination” under the Utah State Constitution) is an opportunity for the court to determine whether the prosecution has enough evidence to justify moving the case forward to trial. If the court finds that the evidence establishes probable cause to believe that a charged crime has occurred and that the defendant is the person who committed the crime, the judge (acting as magistrate) will enter a “bindover” order requiring further proceedings moving toward trial. A preliminary hearing (“examination”) or a waiver by both parties is required in all felony cases, and also in any class A misdemeanor case. Misdemeanor cases involving only class B or class C level misdemeanors do not require a preliminary hearing.

Originally Published: November 20, 2023

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