What happens at a preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania?
A preliminary hearing ensures that a person is not unlawfully held for trial based on criminal allegations. The evidentiary burden is on the prosecution at these hearings and the burden of proof is Prima Facie evidence. This means that the prosecution only has to establish that it is more probable than not that a crime was committed and the accused committed the crime. There is a much lower evidentiary standard at a preliminary hearing than at trial. Just because a case is held for trial following a preliminary hearing does not mean that a person will be convicted at trial.