When will I be called to appear as a witness?

In traffic and misdemeanor cases, the victims and witnesses normally need only appear in court at the trial. In felony cases, the victims sometimes will be called to testify at the preliminary hearing. The preliminary hearing is not a trial but is held in felony cases to determine whether probable cause that a crime has been committed exists and that there is reason to believe that the defendant committed the crime. The preliminary hearing is conducted before a judge sitting without a jury. If probable cause is established, the case proceeds to trial or plea. If no probable cause is found, the case is dismissed.

Victims and witnesses are sometimes called upon to testify in cases where pretrial motions are filed. These motions usually deal with technical legal issues.

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1. What should I do if I am a victim of a crime?
2. How does the state's attorney's office decide whether to file charges?
3. What if charges are filed?
4. When will I be called to appear as a witness?
5. Will there always be a trial?
6. Are all trials by jury?
7. What happens after a defendant is convicted at trial or pleads guilty?
8. Do I need an attorney?
9. How will I be notified about the case?
10. Will I have to take off from work to appear in court?
11. How will I get to the courthouse in Whiteside?
12. What if I am threatened in connection with the case?
13. What if the defense attorney or the defendant contacts me about the case?
14. How do I get items held as evidence returned to me?
15. Will I receive restitution or compensation for property loss and injuries?
16. Will I be notified of what happens to the defendant in a case where I am the victim?
17. What if I need more information or a question answered?