If you have been arrested or charged with driving under the influence in Philadelphia you may not know how the process of a DUI case works. For this reason, below are common questions asked by those facing DUI charges about the progression of DUI cases. To learn more about DUI in Pennsylvania or to seek legal counsel to help with your case contact a Philadelphia DUI lawyer today.
A DUI case starts with an arrest made by a police officer on the suspicion of drunk driving. The next step is a Breathalyzer and/or blood is drawn to make a determination at a later time whether a person is above the legal limit. Once that’s determined, a person is taken through the court system and at every step of the way, an experienced trial attorney in DUI can challenge the stop, preservation of evidence, and the accuracy of evidence that’s used to attempt to prosecute an individual for DUI.
It’s only after the initial arrest and arraignment that a person is sent immediately to a municipal court or bench trial where the person stands accused before a court and the person has a trial before a judge. If at a future date the person wishes to take an appeal, an appeal can be taken to the Court of Common Pleas where a person will be entitled to a trial by jury and at that listing a jury will be selected and will decide the innocence or guilt of an individual arrested for driving under the influence.
A person arrested for DUI the first time in Philadelphia should expect to be taken into custody and then have an arraignment hearing and then be released on a bail or bond with the assurance that the person will appear in court.
At that stage, the person will be asked to obtain an attorney and then can either ask for a trial date in the Philadelphia Municipal Court or through an experienced attorney seek an alternative program. The ARD program allows first time offenders an opportunity should they qualify to have their arrest expunged from their records after successfully completing the DUI program.
A matter can be continued at the trial court level for a number of permissible reasons. Courts often continue cases when police materials are not available or missing, police are not available on a particular day, and attorneys and/or investigators are not available. In addition to that, should a client need further time to hire an attorney, often a continuance on the first listing is granted. After that, all matters will be heard at trial with no further continuance dates.
With an experienced attorney on your side and following local rules of court, continuances are often granted in advance so not to inconvenience the commonwealth or the court. On any given day, the court has hundreds of cases and an experienced attorney can maneuver and be able to take a case that would otherwise not be ready to proceed, request a continuance, get the continuance granted, and then proceed in a proper fashion on another date. That is the way in which an experienced attorney is able to work successfully with the client and to protect the client’s rights.
My clients and it’s in the hundreds every year, have used my services in defending their DUI cases for over nineteen years. They come to me because they are often misled by a prior attorney or they just don’t feel comfortable navigating the system on their own or the use of a public defender.
They come to me for guidance, for information, and in most cases for the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law and have their story told. That’s why my clients have consistently come to me, referred cases to me, and will continue to come to me in the years to come