Preliminary Hearing DEFENDERS of Your Rights. Your Life. Your Future.

St. Petersburg Preliminary Hearing Lawyers

Aggressively Fighting for the Accused in Florida

The preliminary hearing is one of the most crucial processes that takes place in the Florida criminal justice system. During this hearing, evidence is presented for review by the court to decide if sufficient evidence or probable cause exists that would make a trial necessary. This process can be extremely important because during this process, your lawyer can have certain evidence thrown out, demonstrate lack of probable cause, or insufficient evidence. This can lead to no trial taking place and a dismissal of your case.

The preliminary hearing can be a first line of defense and vital to your freedom and future. However, it calls for a highly-knowledgeable attorney who knows how to put in the time for meticulous preparation. At Morris Law Firm, P.A., our team has decades of combined experience in handling criminal cases and courtroom procedure. Our founding attorney, Melinda Morris, has a decade of experience involving both criminal prosecution and defense; this gives you the benefit of legal insight into crafting a strong defense while exposing flaws and inconsistencies that can cast doubt on the prosecution’s case.

Take advantage of the experience and skills you will find at Morris Law Firm, P.A. Call us at (727) 592-5885 to set up a time to discuss the specifics of your case with one of our attorneys.

Preliminary Hearings in Florida Courts

The burden of proof in any criminal trial is that you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In most cases, the evidence against you at a preliminary hearing is presented similarly to how it will be presented at a trial but it is not subject to the same standard of proof. Instead, at the preliminary hearing, only probable cause is used as a standard for the case to proceed forward in the courts.

The probable cause standard is based on whether it is reasonable for a prudent person to believe that the crime was likely committed and that you likely committed it. This would be based on the evidence and circumstances presented at the hearing. At “evidentiary” hearings (also known as preliminary hearings), testimony and evidence is presented to determine if you committed or attempted to commit a crime and a subsequent investigation into the matter would show evidence that you did.

In preliminary hearings, pieces of evidence can be ruled out that then could not be used against you in a trial. If probable cause as a whole is shown to be without merit, the entire case can be thrown out.

A criminal defense attorney can win at a preliminary hearing in ways that include but are not limited to the following:

  • A supposed eyewitness who has identified you as the offender crumbles under cross-examination and there is no other realistic evidence that would point to you as the offender.
  • One of the prosecution’s witnesses does not appear or does not now want to testify against you.
  • Each element of the crime that is being charged against you must be proven and the prosecution has failed to offer enough evidence to prove one or more of those elements.

If the judge in your preliminary hearing finds that probable cause exists, your case will proceed to trial. An attorney experienced at these matters can fight to reveal cracks in the evidence, however, that could mean the difference between a case dismissal or a later conviction.

Turn to a Team That Will Fight for You

Our St. Petersburg preliminary hearing attorneys are well-versed in criminal law and procedure and in how to conduct exhaustive investigations to uncover facts and evidence that can prove beneficial to you. The advantage of having a former prosecutor on your side in any preliminary hearing or criminal case cannot be overstated. Take advantage of the benefits that our experience and insight can bring to your future and freedom in the wake of a criminal arrest.

Available 24/7 for clients in and around the greater St. Petersburg area, contact us online or at (727) 592-5885 to get started today.

Why Choose Our Law Firm?

See the Difference Our Service Provides

    Melinda Morris is a former prosecutor and has handled thousands of criminal cases from investigation through sentencing enabling us to identify weaknesses in the State’s case against you.


    We never settle for the easiest outcome or the typical result. We know how to negotiate with the State Attorney and we will work to get you the best possible outcome.


    Melinda Morris has practiced criminal law for over 20 years. Our clients trust advice that comes from experience in nearly every type of criminal case.


    We will know every client’s story because we will take the time to listen and understand. You will work with your attorney one-on-one at every stage of the process.


    You will have the cell phone number of your attorney. Your attorney will directly return your call, email, or text to answer your pressing questions.


    The government is wasting no time in trying to prove your guilt, a proactive defense is imperative. Prompt and decisive action from your defense attorney is of critical importance.

Meet the Attorneys

Melinda Morris & Seth Shapiro

Client Testimonials

Hear From Real People We've Helped
    Mr. Shapiro took on our case on a Sunday evening and had us in front of the judge the next day.

    “We were on vacation in Florida and ran into some troubles and needed an attorney. Mr. Shapiro took on our case on a Sunday evening and had us in front of the judge the next day (which other attorneys ...”

    - Jennifer A. on Google
    Just what the doctor ordered

    “I'm in Tennessee but needed Seth to do some work for me in Florida. He was just what the doctor ordered. Very professional, understanding ant an all-around nice guy. I will be forever thankful for the ...”

    - Jerry
    Very knowledgeable, personable, and gets back to you with in the same day.

    “Seth is an amazing lawyer and did exactly what he told me he was going to do. He is very knowledgeable, personable, and gets back to you with in the same day. Unfortunately I had to hire Seth two ...”

    - Darren D. on Google
    I researched other lawyers in the area, and none of them compared.

    “Seth Shapiro, and Morris Law Firm in general, are consummate professionals. I researched other lawyers in the area, and none of them compared, both in price and assistance. Seth always made himself ...”

    - Bill P. on Google
    Very Quick and Professional

    “This is a great firm. Very quick and professional. They assisted me with a case from 2013 that has been following me around for years. Thank you!”

    - Desteny S. on Yelp