Every defendant charged with a felony has the right to a Preliminary Hearing. A preliminary hearing is held to determine whether the defendant should face trial on the charges alleged in the complaint. At the hearing, the prosecutor presents a magistrate with evidence that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the accused individual has committed the crime. The Judge can find probable cause and order the defendant to stand trial, or dismiss the case based on a lack of probable cause.
Per 16A A.R.S. Rules Crim. Proc., Rule 5.1, a preliminary hearing must be held before a magistrate no later than 10 days after the defendant's Initial Appearance if the defendant is in custody, or no later than 20 days after the defendant's Initial Appearance if the defendant is not in custody, unless:
(1) the complaint is dismissed;
(2) the hearing is waived;
(3) the defendant has been transferred from the juvenile court for criminal prosecution on specified charges;
(4) the magistrate orders the hearing continued; or
(5) the court made a probable cause finding at a bail eligibility hearing under Rule 7.2(b)(4).
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