Main menu

Rule 5.1. Preliminary Hearing - Probable Cause Hearing - Discharge or Commitment of Defendant - Procedure.

(a) Preliminary hearing. Unless indicted by a grand jury, a defendant, when charged in a complaint with any felony, is entitled to a preliminary hearing. If the defendant waives the preliminary hearing, the magistrate shall forthwith file a written order in the district court holding the defendant to answer. If the defendant does not waive the preliminary hearing, the magistrate shall fix a time for the preliminary hearing to be held within a reasonable time, but in any event not later than fourteen (14) days following the defendant's initial appearance if the defendant is in custody and no later than twenty-one (21) days after the initial appearance if the defendant is not in custody. With the consent of the defendant and upon showing of good cause, taking into account the public interest and prompt disposition of criminal cases, time limits in this subsection may be extended. In the absence of such consent by the defendant, time limits may be extended only upon a showing that extraordinary circumstances exist, including disqualification of the magistrate by the defendant pursuant to Rule 25. 


(b) If from the evidence the magistrate determines that a public offense has been committed and that there is probable or sufficient cause to believe that the defendant committed such offense, the magistrate shall forthwith hold the defendant to answer in the district court. The finding of probable cause shall be based upon substantial evidence upon every material element of the offense charged; provided that hearsay in the form of testimony, or affidavits, including written certifications or declarations under penalty of perjury, may be admitted to show the existence or nonexistence of business or medical facts and records, judgments and convictions of courts, ownership of real or personal property and reports of scientific examinations of evidence by state or federal agencies or officials or by state-certified laboratories, provided the magistrate determines the source of said evidence to be credible. Provided, nothing in this rule shall prevent the admission of evidence under any recognized exception to the hearsay rule of evidence. The defendant shall be entitled to cross-examine witnesses produced against the defendant at the hearing and may introduce evidence in defendant's own behalf. Motions to suppress must be made in a trial court as provided in Rule 12; provided, if at the preliminary hearing the evidence shows facts which would ultimately require the suppression of evidence sought to be used against the defendant, such evidence shall be excluded and shall not be considered by the magistrate in his determining probable cause. A record of the proceedings shall be made by stenographic means or recording devices.


(c) Discharge of defendant. If from the evidence the magistrate does not determine that a public offense has been committed or that there is not probable or sufficient cause to believe that the defendant committed such offense, the magistrate shall dismiss the complaint and discharge the defendant. 


(d) Records. After concluding the proceeding, the magistrate shall transmit forthwith to the clerk of the district court all papers in the proceeding. 


(Adopted December 27, 1979, effective July 1, 1980; amended March 20, 1985, effective July 1, 1985; amended March 28, 1986, effective July 1, 1986; amended March 9, 1999, effective July 1, 1999; amended November 20, 2012, effective January 1, 2013; amended June 20, 2013, effective July 1, 2013)

As the Third Branch of Government, we provide access to justice through the timely, fair, and impartial resolution of cases.


Members of the
Idaho Supreme Court

Chief Justice Roger S. Burdick
Justice Daniel T. Eismann
Justice Warren E. Jones
Justice Joel D. Horton
Justice Robyn M. Brody

Members of the
Idaho Court of Appeals

Chief Judge David W. Gratton
Judge Sergio A. Gutierrez
Judge John M. Melanson
Judge Molly J. Huskey



Promoting Openness In The Courts
Do you have suggestions about how we can better serve you?