A preliminary inquiry is a legal procedure that determines if the prosecution has gathered enough evidence to move forward with their case, according to the Cornell University Law School. It is also known as a preliminary hearing.
During a preliminary inquiry, witnesses are allowed to bring forth any evidence they have for the prosecution while the defendant brings forth any witnesses they have, according to the Cornell University Law School. Both the prosecutor and the defendant are allowed to question, also known as cross-examine, witnesses no matter if they are a witness for the same side. Once the hearing is complete, the court is allowed to throw out the charges if they aren't supported by probable cause.