Every person who is charged by the warrant is entitled to a preliminary hearing. If a person remains in jail, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing, usually within 10 days of arrest. If a person is released from jail on bond, he or she is entitled to a preliminary hearing within 15 days of arrest.
A preliminary hearing is an examination of the charge against the accused. The prosecutor must present evidence and witnesses that prove that it appears that an offense has been committed and that there is probable cause to believe that the person accused committed the offense. The accused may cross-examine witnesses and may present evidence if he or she wishes.
If the judge makes a finding of probable cause after hearing the evidence, the charge is sent to the grand jury. If the judge does not find that it appears that an offense has been committed or that the accused is likely the person who committed an offense, the accused is discharged and the charge is dismissed. If the accused is discharged and the charge is dismissed after a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor may still present evidence to the grand jury to see if they will find probable cause.