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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Bucks County DUI Initial Court Appearances

In Bucks County, your initial appearance is what is commonly known as a preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania and is the first step in the criminal prosecution. At the time of such hearing, you must stand before the Court while the government attempts to prove more likely than not that a crime has been committed by the individual on trial.

In Bucks County, first impressions with a lawyer at your side are crucial. Therefore, when you are charged with DUI, you must appear for your first appearance and/or preliminary hearing, and it is essential to have a qualified, experienced Bucks County DUI attorney there in order to expedite things and to make sure that this first appearance is not your only appearance before the Court.

Process of An Initial Appearance

When you are charged with DUI in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the initial appearance and/or preliminary hearing, as commonly noted, occurs within 10 days of the initial arrest. However, dates may vary. The matter may also be continued for further proceedings at a later time, but it is required that upon arrest, you will at least be scheduled for your initial hearing within 10 days.

Therefore, time is always of the essence. If you are charged with a DUI in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, there is no time but the present to seek out the services of an experienced Bucks County Criminal DUI attorney. The sooner an attorney gets involved with the case, the more likely the end result will be positive for the accused.

You have a very short period of time to have your matter reviewed and/or all defenses put together so that you can be properly represented at a Bucks Country preliminary hearing.

What to Expect

At the initial appearance and/or preliminary hearing involving an arrest for DUI in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a formal preliminary hearing often takes place.  At that preliminary hearing, the Government and/or Commonwealth will call witnesses to the stand, often the police involved in the arrest to testify as to what took place.

It is the Government’s burden to show more likely than not that a crime had been committed like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in that more likely than not, that crime was perpetrated by the individual accused of such crime.

It is at the preliminary hearing through testimony that could be cross examined by the defense that such elements must be made out for the matter to continue on to the Court of Common Pleas in Doylestown.

Therefore, it is essential to have an experienced Bucks County Criminal Defense Attorney right there with you asking the necessary questions in an attempt to negate one of the elements of the crime or at least develop a defense that can be later used at trial and in either case you are charged with such a crime, it is important to have an attorney on your side asking the requisite questions.

Where Initial Appearances Take Place

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania the initial appearance or preliminary hearing will always occur before the local District Court or District Justice in the municipality in which the crime or alleged crime had been committed. If the matter occurred in upper Bucks County then the Magisterial Justice in that area will hear the case.

Bucks County is divided up into no less than 15 small District Courts, so it is specific to the police department that makes the arrest and the area in which the arrest is made to determine where the initial appearance and/or preliminary hearing takes place.

Parties Present At An Initial Hearing

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the initial appearance and/or preliminary hearing is attended by a District Court Judge, a Government agent, and defense counsel for the accused. Additionally, witnesses for the Government will testify in a live fashion before the Court and as a result, the Court may make a decision of whether or not a matter continues on to the Court of Common Pleas.

As stated earlier, the standard is more likely than not that a crime was committed such as DUI and more likely than not that the accused is the person who perpetrated such a crime.  Once those two elements are made out, the matter is sent over to the Court of Common Pleas and future proceedings will be held in Doylestown.

Who Presides Over Preliminary Hearings?

In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the initial judge that presides over DUI cases is a judge elected at the district court or lower court level. This judge will be present to hear bail arguments, processing arguments, and preside over the preliminary hearing on the case. That district court justice will determine whether it is likely that a crime had been committed and if it is likely that the accused is the individual that committed the crime.