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New York Pre-Trial Hearings


If you were recently arrested and charged with a crime, it is crucial that you understand the steps involved in a criminal case. You probably already know that arraignment is the next step after an arrest. But do you know what happens after an arraignment and before the trial? The next step is the discovery phase if you plead not guilty at your arraignment. In the discovery phase, your attorney and the prosecutor will exchange information necessary to prepare their cases for trial. For instance, during the discovery stage, your defense attorney can look at the physical evidence that the prosecution has and get the results of any tests that the prosecution carried out. Your attorney may also, on your behalf, write a pretrial motion to the court. For example, your attorney may ask the judge to prevent evidence from being used at the trial. After your attorney files a pre-trial motion, a hearing may be held to decide whether the motion should be granted. This hearing is called a pre-trial hearing.

Types of Pre-Trial Hearings in New York

There are different kinds of pretrial motions that your defense attorney can file on your behalf. As mentioned already, the hearings to decide whether these pre-trial motions should be granted are called pre-trial hearings. The following are some of the pre-trial hearings in New York;

Mapp Hearing

This hearing may be held after your attorney writes a motion asking the court to suppress physical evidence on the grounds that law enforcement officers obtained the evidence during an unreasonable or illegal search.

Dunaway Hearing

This type of pre-trial hearing aims to determine if evidence obtained by the police that is the fruit of an illegal arrest may be suppressed.

Huntley Hearing

A Huntley hearing may be held if your defense attorney writes a motion asking the court to suppress a statement you made on the grounds that your statement was coerced, involuntary, or illegally obtained. For example, your attorney may argue that you said something because of threats, pressure, or tricks. Your attorney may argue that the statement was the product of an unlawful arrest or that you weren’t properly advised of your right to remain silent and to an attorney.

Wade Hearing

This hearing determines whether a witness’s identification of the defendant is admissible.

Competency Hearing

A competency hearing is a hearing to determine if a defendant can understand the charges against them and cooperate with their attorney in preparing a defense.

Frye Hearing

A Frye hearing is used to determine the admissibility of an expert’s scientific testimony. This hearing determines if the scientific tests or procedures used during the investigation are admissible as evidence.

Why Does a Pre-Trial Hearing Matter?

You may wonder, “Why should I care about pre-trial hearings?” The truth is that a pre-trial hearing is just as important as the trial. Depending on the circumstances, a pre-trial hearing may even be more important than the trial. If motions are granted, the prosecution may not have enough to proceed with the case. Some technicalities might even be enough to have a case dismissed.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing criminal charges, it is vital that you have a skilled defense attorney representing you as soon as possible. We invite you to discuss your case with our NYC criminal defense attorney, Mark I. Cohen.



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"... Mr. Cohen's effort... in everything he has done before the Court, is A-Plus... [R]ecently, in another case... [before me], the result he achieved for his client... was quite impressive." Honorable Kenneth M. Karas, United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York.


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