Clerk's Magistrate Hearing/Show Cause Hearing
In all misdemeanor cases for which there is not an arrest, the accused has a right to a clerk magistrates hearing. The hearing is to determine if there is probable cause for the clerk’s office to issue criminal charges against the accused. This is a vital and important stage of the criminal case, but is often underestimated and not fully understood.
Every defendant has a right to have an attorney at the clerk's hearing and every defendant should assert this right. Anything that a defendant says at these hearings can be used against them later at trial. This is not the case for the defendant's attorney. A good attorney can often prevent charges from being issued. If the charges are not issued, there is no record of being criminal charged and most importantly there is no criminal case. Essentially, it is stopping the train before it ever leaves the station.