If you are arrested for a criminal charge or DUI in Tennessee , you are entitled to have a preliminary hearing . A preliminary hearing is to determine whether there is probable cause that a crime has been committed. The key question is whether you should testify at that hearing in your defense.

 Last week is a prime example of what not to do. Mark Sevier was charged of stalking country music star John Rich.  Mr. Sevier took the stand at the preliminary hearing to testify. You can click the link to read some of the comments. During his testimony , Mr. Sevier alleged that the court was with the group of "pawns"  helping Rich get his revenge. Needless to say , it did not go well for him and his case was bound over to the Davidson County grand jury.

Here is the takeaway from this story. First , as a general rule you should never testify at a preliminary hearing Why ?

  • All of your statements are recorded.
  • It gives the government a chance to cross examine you.
  • The recorded statement can be used against you to impeach your testimony at trial .
  • The government will learn of your defense.
  • The burden of proof is lower at a preliminary hearing.

The bottom line is you should never testify at a preliminary hearing. It is your right to testify if you wish . My guess is Mr.Sevier testified against his lawyer’s advice. Look where that got him.