In a preliminary hearing, can prior offenses be used do determine probable cause?

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2011

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In a preliminary hearing, can prior offenses be used do determine probable cause?

Such as in a domestic violence case. The judge will be hearing the evidence to determine if the case should go to trial, so he has to determine whether or not there is probable cause that the defendant committed this crime. Can prior convictions of the same nature be used to determine probable cause?

Asked on January 6, 2011 under Criminal Law, Ohio


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The law in your state will be determinative of this answer.  That being said you need to speak with your attorney here to determine strategy and the facts of the case and your life in order that they be fully prepared to deal with all issues that may arise.  That also being said, generally speaking and in New York, prior convictions can not be used solely to determine if a defendant committed the offense that is before the court. But, the information could be presented to a judge in order to support contempt charges or to determine bail in the instant case. So you are safe when it comes to the issue of probable cause. Good luck to you. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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