What Does “waived to Court” Mean?

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Waived to court means that the defense in a criminal case has waived its right to a preliminary hearing, according to Adam D. Zucker, a criminal defense attorney in Conshohocken, Pa. Waiving the preliminary hearing is not a plea of guilty. It is an agreement by the defense that the state or commonwealth can meet its burden of proof in a preliminary hearing only.

The burden of proof required in a preliminary hearing is far lower than at a trial, according to George A. Heim, a DUI/DWI attorney from Pittsburg, Pa. The lower court requires only that a prima facia case be established. This means that the prosecution must only prove that it has sufficient evidence to merit a trial. The prosecution’s evidence is not challenged at the preliminary hearing, as it is in a trial.

Nolo explains that there are several reasons that the defense chooses to waive a preliminary hearing. Fear that additional evidence will come to light during the preliminary hearing is a common motivation behind waiving it. This could potentially lead to additional charges. The defense may also waive a preliminary hearing if the prosecution’s case is strong, or if it does not want the prosecution to gain a transcribed record of witness testimony.