A hearing allows you to present evidence before a court. A hearing is usually brief, and the two parties can present their arguments on why or why not the issue should move to trial. Hearings involve determining fact or some issue of law or both.
A judge listens to a hearing independently and will not involve a jury until the matter goes to trial. The burden of proof in a hearing lies with the plaintiff. This is one of the main reasons why you should have legal representation in a hearing.
Types of Hearings
A civil hearing involves a dispute between two private individuals, while a criminal hearing is between the state and an individual. A hearing in a criminal case involves:
- Explaining the charges
- Informing the defendant of the minimum and maximum penalties
- Scheduling trial proceedings
- Presentation of evidence
- Cross-examination of witnesses
The State Attorney Office requires that a defendant arrested on criminal charges see a judge within 24 hours. A civil hearing is different in that it begins after the plaintiff has filed a complaint. The first objective of a civil hearing is to present evidence. The hearing may also be an opportunity for the defendant to admit liability.
If the defendant refutes liability and the plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence, the case goes to court. A civil hearing does not have the same time restrictions as a criminal case. A civil hearing involves a comprehensive inquiry into the legal and factual disputes between two or more parties.
An administrative hearing involves disputes under the jurisdiction of government agencies. Administrative hearings can be either formal or informal. Government agencies may have their own laws which govern their cases. An administrative hearing involves the presentation of evidence, examination of facts, and arguments.
The party filing the complaint has the burden of proof. This means that an administrative hearing is similar to a criminal or civil hearing.
What Happens in a Civil Hearing
A civil case may involve issues such as injury, property damage, and divorce. A civil hearing is where the plaintiff asks the court to grant them monetary compensation. The plaintiff may also ask for the court to intervene or to declare the plaintiff’s rights. The evidence in a civil lawsuit gets examined during the hearing.
The judge then decides the claims that can stand and the ones without sufficient evidence. The judge also hears various motions during a civil hearing. The defendant may file for a motion of summary judgment if they feel there is insufficient evidence for the matter to go to trial. If the judge grants the motion, there is no lawsuit. Motions for deposition are also handled in the civil hearing.
The judge meets the parties in the civil lawsuit to do the following:
- Decide which issues are going to trial
- Review evidence admissible in court
- Schedule the trial
- Determine the possibility of an out-of-court settlement
An out-of-court settlement is achievable through monetary compensation, mediation, and arbitration. The first solution is often a settlement where the liable party agrees to compensate the plaintiff. The second out-of-court solution is through mediation.
A neutral third party can help the parties reach a mutual agreement. The arbitration process is like mediation. An arbitrator decides the party that wins the disputes. The plaintiff must pay the court fee when filing a complaint. If you cannot afford the court fees, you may file for Determination of Civil Indigent Status. If the judge denies you the motion to avoid paying court fees, you have no alternative but to pay.
Ways to Improve Your Success at a Hearing
The success of a hearing will depend on the strength of your case and the availability of evidence. The first thing you should do when filing a lawsuit is to hire a lawyer. A lawyer will use their expertise to present your case successfully in a hearing. A lawyer will gather evidence and contact the defendant.
The litigation process is often difficult and emotionally draining, especially in personal injury or wrongful death cases. Having a lawyer represent you or your family will ensure there is objectivity.
Objectivity in litigation is important because it can help you avoid expensive court fees. A lawyer will be able to recommend the claims you can make and the ones you cannot. A complaint based on objectivity is easier to present before a judge and ensures success during the hearing. The success of a hearing hinges on everything you do or say after filing a complaint or petition.
When You Fail to Follow a Lawyer’s Advice
Failure to follow your lawyer’s advice negatively affects your case and could give the defendant leverage during the hearing. Ensure that your evidence is admissible in court. Inadmissible evidence cannot help your case, and the judge may throw out your claim before it goes to trial.
Learn about the specific details of your case because each lawsuit has specific conditions that can ensure it goes to trial.
Lawyers know the right type of questions to ask and can use the witnesses’ testimony in your favor. If you are the defendant, hiring a lawyer may improve the chances of the case not going to trial.
Talk to a Lawyer Today
Filing a lawsuit or being a defendant is never easy because many are not familiar with hearings and what they entail. If you are making a complaint or are the defendant, you are encouraged to hire a lawyer. Having legal representation may improve your chances of having the hearing go in your favor.
Contact Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers at (855) 529-0269 today and get a free consultation with a team member.