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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 10 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. 


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