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Last Modified: December 28, 2022

Evidentiary Hearing

According to TheFreeDictionary, an evidentiary hearing is “a proceeding before a judicial officer in which the officer must decide whether a crime was committed, whether the crime occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, and whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime.” To clarify, an evidentiary hearing is held before a trial in order to examine the data and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to indicate the guilt of the accused. In personal injury, an evidentiary hearing could explore the types of recoverable damages and the likelihood of proving negligence.

Example Sentence

Although Bud had threatened to sue Buck for everything he had, the meager evidence he offered at the evidentiary hearing did not bode well for a conviction.

Case Study

One afternoon, Lucy comes home to find that her bicycle is missing. Lucy accuses Ben of stealing her bicycle and brings him before a judicial officer on suspicion of theft. At their evidentiary hearing, Lucy presents as evidence a picture of Ben near her bike. The judge does not make a ruling on Ben’s innocence or guilt, but points out to Lucy that, while there is evidence that the bike was stolen, she will not be likely to prove that it was Ben who stole it.

Other Important Information

Hearing-related procedures may vary from case to case and from state to state. Some states do not hold evidentiary hearings except in felony charges; sometimes there are multiple evidentiary hearings (for instance, if the accused opts to retain counsel); and sometimes it is left up to a jury to decide whether a case goes to trial.

Photo “Scientology anti-SLAPP hearing 3 Feb 2014 039″ copyright by Michael.