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What to Expect at a Preliminary Hearing in a Nashville, TN DUI Case

One of the critical steps of the DUI process in Nashville, TN is a preliminary hearing, which is different from a trial. A preliminary hearing is a court proceeding to determine if there is enough evidence to establish probable cause to send the case to a Davidson County Grand Jury.

What happens at a preliminary hearing in a Nashville, TN DUI case?

The District Attorney has the burden of proof. Usually, the state calls the police officer who made the traffic stop and is then subject to cross-examination by your lawyer. Often times, a DUI enforcement officer is called to investigate the charge. If a DUI enforcement officer is involved in your case he or she will be called next to testify about the field sobriety tests, the breath alcohol results, and/or blood alcohol tests. The State's toxicologist is not required to testify at the preliminary hearing. Rule 5.1 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure allows the State of Tennessee to introduce the laboratory report as evidence.

You have a right to present testimony to rebut probable cause, but in most circumstances, it is not recommended to present evidence. First, it reveals your defense strategy. Second, the burden of proof is lower. You are not required to testify at the preliminary hearing.

After the preliminary hearing, you will not go to jail if the court finds probable cause. You will be allowed to remain on the same bond. The case will then be presented to the Grand Jury at a later date, and the process starts over in the Criminal Court.