Because first-time DUI offenders are often new to the criminal system in Philadelphia, it is essential to obtain the services of an experienced Philadelphia first DUI lawyer so that the accused understands all diversionary programs available to him/her. Often if it is also a first offense, the ARD program can be available if applied for. This program helps a first-time offender avoid jail time and limits their license suspension. The program often leads to an expunged record. Consult with a DUI attorney in Philadelphia to see if you are eligible.
First time DUI charges in Philadelphia are generally heard in the Municipal Court of Philadelphia located at 1301 Filbert Street in the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center. First time DUI’s are dealt with by the Philadelphia Municipal Court because they are charged as misdemeanors. The Municipal Court in Philadelphia is responsible for hearing all misdemeanor cases at their initial level.
Prosecutors handle first time DUI offenders in both a critical and rehabilitative manner in Philadelphia. In order to deter future problems from DUI arrests prosecutors often seek mandatory counseling and treatment as a condition of any sentence. Additionally, an individual charged with a first-time DUI may need probation in order to monitor their behavior.
Prosecutors are very serious about any DUI arrest so an individual charged with even a first-time DUI should seek the advice of an experienced Philadelphia first DUI lawyer to help both mitigate the consequences of a first-time Philadelphia DUI and ultimately clear an individual’s arrest record so that person future impact of the charge can be negated.
Philadelphia Courts treat first time DUI offenders in a very critical posture. Judges and prosecutors often see their role as a deterrent to future behavior. As a result a Philadelphia Court is required to impose state mandatory sentencing often leading to incarceration, license suspensions, and large fines and court costs. However, if an individual qualifies for a diversionary program like ARD, the sentence may be much lighter for a first-time Philadelphia DUI offender. A record can even be ordered expunged by the Court upon completion of the ARD program at a later time.
A judge is often a more lenient alternative to a jury for first-time Philadelphia DUI offenders. As in Philadelphia, all DUI’s charged as misdemeanors begin in the Philadelphia Municipal Court. At this Court level, only a judge or “bench” trial is possible. As such a Judge is much more lenient when an experienced Philadelphia first DUI attorney makes all the right arguments on your behalf.
However, a jury trial can be requested and even a misdemeanor DUI can be transferred to the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia. At this higher Court level a first-time DUI offender can be given a trial by jury. However, the consequences of a conviction are often dealt with more seriously after a jury conviction. Therefore seeking the advice of an experienced Philadelphia DUI lawyer is imperative.
My office has been handling thousands of first-time Philadelphia DUI arrests for nearly two decades. With the right experience behind you, a first-time DUI arrest does not have to effect your freedom or livelihood. Call today to schedule a free consultation.