DUI Preliminary Hearings in Pennsylvania – What Should I Expect?

What You Should Know before a Preliminary Hearing for DUI in PA

If you were charged with DUI of alcohol or drugs in Pennsylvania, you were most likely given a date already for your preliminary hearing. This hearing occurs typically within 30 to 60 days from your arrest and takes place in the local District Court where the DUI arrest happened.

preliminary hearing dui pennsylvaniaThere are several things you should be aware of before this date, so you can make a best effort to prepare for the hearing and defend your rights.

First, you will not be sentenced at the preliminary hearing, as the goal of the hearing is to only determine whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to proceed with the case, such as blood alcohol content (BAC) results and proof that you were operating a motor vehicle from police reports, etc. You will not be sentenced to jail or taken to jail at a preliminary hearing, under most normal circumstances.

Second, the preliminary hearing is where you enter a guilty or not guilty plea. Always speak with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI attorney about your case well before your hearing date. A DUI lawyer is going to help you choose the best option for your circumstances in how to plea.

It’s important to remember that a DUI arrest does not always result in a conviction. You have options, like ARD program or Drug Court that could make a difference, as well as any number of other legal defenses.

Third, the preliminary hearing is the first place where your lawyer is going to be able to begin to negotiate plea options. It is a very important step in the process and it’s critical that you have an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer to help negotiate on your behalf. It is possible to have your charges significantly reduced or dismissed at the preliminary hearing. 

If the Magistrate judge finds probable cause, she will then send your case to the County Court of Common Pleas, where an arraignment will be scheduled.

Learn more about the DUI Court process in Pennsylvania

Have a question about your DUI case or upcoming preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania? Call our team of top Pittsburgh DUI lawyers for a free consultation.

Call Ketchel Law at 412-456-1221. We take your case seriously and are committed to providing quality legal advice.

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