A hearing is a court session held to decide a certain issue related to the law or the facts of a case. Witnesses may be called to testify at a hearing, but a hearing is not a full trial.
Many pre-trial hearings are a particular type of hearing called a “suppression hearing.” In a suppression hearing, the court must decide whether certain pieces of evidence should be allowed or if they should be suppressed, or stopped, from being used during the trial. Suppression hearings often involve an argument that the police did not follow the right procedures to get evidence in the case.
Some common examples of suppression hearings include:
The Court must decide whether certain physical evidence should be suppressed or not allowed into evidence
The Court must decide whether a defendant’s statement should be suppressed or not allowed into evidence
The Court must decide whether a police arranged identification of the defendant (other than inside the courtroom) should be suppressed or not allowed into evidence
The Court must decide whether the police had enough probable cause to make an arrest. Dunaway hearings are always held at the same time as a Mapp, Huntley, or Wade hearing