A hearing is a legal gathering in the court of law wherein a judge discusses an upcoming case in the presence of the competing parties.
The purpose of a hearing is to gather facts, determine temporary orders and procedural matters about the case or issue, and ultimately to ascertain whether the charges imposed are worth pursuing. A hearing can be held for any civil, criminal, or administrative proceeding.
A hearing is different and typically shorter and less formal than a trial. At a trial, both parties present evidence and arguments for the judge to use in making a final decision. Whereas the court allows witnesses at a trial, it relies on affidavits (written declarations) and your arguments at a hearing.
What Happens During a Hearing?
The proceedings of a hearing will depend on the jurisdiction and the court. Some hearings are more formal, while others are less formal. In Magistrate and Circuit Court, the public is usually allowed to be present. However, the public is not permitted in Family Court. The judge and court staff may be present at the hearing to keep track of information and record what happens. In some courts, hearings are recorded by video.
Generally, a preliminary hearing will consist of the following:
- The lawyers of both parties present material, facts, information, and evidence before the judge
- The judge decides whether to hold the accused for trial based on the evidence provided
Types of Hearings
There are many types of hearings, including but not limited to:
- Detention Hearings — A proceeding before a judge to determine if the accused will be detained or released while the case proceedings are pending.
- Bond Hearings — A court appearance in which the defendant asks the judge to release him or her from police custody pending the outcome of a criminal case.
- Pleas and Plea Bargains — Pleading guilty in exchange for the state to reduce charges, the sentence against you, or both.
- Appeals — Requests for a higher court to review a lower court’s decision when a party loses or is unhappy with the decision made by the lower court.
- Expungements — also called an expunction, this restores an individual, to the status he or she occupied before they had a criminal record that existed.
How We Can Help You
At Dysart Willis, our team of attorneys focuses on criminal defense for individuals in Raleigh, North Carolina almost exclusively. Our familiarity with the state and federal court systems and experience with hearings like yours can dramatically impact the outcome.
The thought of walking into a courtroom is enough to make most people nervous. This isn’t surprising, considering that preparing for and taking part in a hearing is complicated. Not only are there rules and procedures you must follow in court, but hearings often involve the submission of required forms and other materials.
We assist our clients by not only aiming for the best outcome possible at the hearing but helping the client prepare for the hearing in court, including:
- An understanding of courtroom etiquette
- Advice leading up to and throughout the hearing
- Gathering and preparation of necessary paperwork
- Providing a realistic idea of what the judge can and cannot do
- Providing an expectation of what will come after the hearing
Having an experienced, knowledgeable attorney at your court hearing is vital. The highest risk of representing yourself in court is that you lose the case because you don’t follow the procedures to bring your case to trial. Without an attorney, you could also miss an opportunity to raise objections that could result in a dismissal of charges against you.
Contact Dysart Willis Today
It’s always best to consult with a lawyer before attending a hearing. If you need experienced representation for your detention hearing, bond hearing, appeal, or another hearing in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can help. The legal process is extraordinarily complex, involving rules, regulations, systems, and etiquette that the average person does not understand. A lawyer can help ensure that your rights are protected and fight for the best outcome in your hearing. If you need experienced representation to handle your hearing, call us at 919-747-8380 or reach out to us online to schedule a consultation.