Terrance Roberts, an anti-gang activist, is charged with multiple felonies, including attempt murder, first degree assault and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. Roberts is accused of shooting reputed gang member, Hasan “Munch” Jones, multiple times. The shooting occured in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood. Roberts claims that Jones threatened him with a knife, but authorities say Roberts was shot five times, two of those shots were allegedly fired after Jones was already motionless. Roberts appeared in court today and the judge scheduled Roberts’ case for a preliminary hearing on October 31, 2013.
A preliminary hearing is appropriately called a preliminary hearing because the purpose of the hearing is for the judge to make an initial or preliminary determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence to keep the case in the system. Not all types of charges are legally eligible for a preliminary hearing. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, regardless of whether you are in custody, meaning being held in jail on the charges, you are not entitled to a preliminary hearing. If, however, you are charged with a felony, you may be eligible for a preliminary hearing.
Felonies are divided into six classes. Class one felonies, such as murder, are the most serious, while class six felonies, such as possession of drugs, are the least serious. If you are in custody, you are eligible for a preliminary hearing regardless of the level of felony charged. If, however, you are out of custody, with a few exceptions, you are only eligible for a preliminary hearing if you are charged with a class one, two or three felony.
Regardless of the level of criminal charges, it is important to have an attorney to defend your rights, but if you are charged with a felony, it is important to get an attorney on your side as soon as possible because important stages of the process happen very early.