Preliminary hearings can be requested by any defendant charged with an offense beyond the jurisdiction of the Municipal Court. Preliminary hearings are held in General Sessions court at 9:00 a.m. on the Wednesday before the first appearance date. Defendants charged with a crime in General Sessions Court will receive written notification during their bond hearing. Preliminary hearings must be requested in writing.
Preliminary hearings give a municipal judge the opportunity to review and determine the existence of probable cause that the defendant committed the crime with which he has been charged. If the judge finds there is no probable cause, the case may be dismissed. If the judge finds probable cause, the case is transferred to Sixth Circuit Court for trial.
Violations of state laws and municipal ordinances heard in Municipal Court are generally in two categories: Criminal and Traffic. Criminal violations include criminal domestic violence, larceny, simple possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, shoplifting, public disorderly conduct, etc. Traffic violations include DUS, DUI, speeding, reckless driving, failure to yield right of way, parking, etc.
Appearance for a General Sessions Court offense is mandatory for the time set and stated on the bond form at the time of release from jail and for such other future dates as determined by that Court.