After an individual has been arrested and charged with a DUI in Bucks County, one thing is certain: you'll be in court a lot. As soon as an official arrest is documented, most defendants will receive a summons in the mail to appear in court, unless otherwise indicated by an attorney, judge, or law enforcement. And some of these appearances aren't optional. In fact, many scheduled court dates are mandatory for defendants, with or without representation.
This is a tough pill to swallow for defendants with busy lives, careers, and families. However, choosing to skip out on a court date has steep consequences. If an individual fails to appear at a required court date, one can face an immediate bench warrant and get conditions for bail and bond taken away. And if law enforcement has to track you down and bring you to court, the likelihood of getting released through bail or bond is slim the second time around.
If a defendant doesn't have representation, their best bet is to always appear in court. But one of the perks of retaining a skilled criminal defense attorney is being able to have them sit in on a court appearance on your behalf, while you take care of your obligations outside of the courtroom. Aside from being in court a lot less, defendants with criminal defense attorneys have a maximized likelihood of a favorable case outcome.
If you are have been charged with a DUI in Bucks County and aren't sure about what you should be doing, this article will address the basics of about initial court appearances. For more information about your specific case, or representation, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.
In Bucks County, the first appearance in court for a DUI is known as a “preliminary hearing.” It is a hearing that will determine the validity of the prosecution's evidence and will dictate whether or not it is necessary for a defendant to be put on trial. A preliminary hearing court date usually is scheduled within 10 days of an arrest, but dates may vary based on unique circumstances. A preliminary hearing will typically be scheduled in the district in which the alleged crime took place.
If the case has proceeded past the district court level, court dates and other relevant information is available at the Bucks county main courthouse in Doylestown. With the serious repercussions that come with missing a court date, all defendants should be completely sure about when and where their scheduled appearances are. Reaching out to the district court, the clerk's office, or an experienced attorney is the best way to affirm that your court dates are correct.
Rescheduling Court Dates
With sufficient notice, and with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, court dates may be rescheduled in Bucks County. A judge may grant this for numerous reasons, attorney availability and client unavailability are two of many reasons that have compelled judges to change court dates.
Arraignment - Filing A Plea
After a preliminary hearing, the case will reach the arraignment stage at the Court of Common Pleas level. If a defendant and an attorney have agreed to plead “not guilty,” the matter will advance through the court and ultimately be resolved generally by a dismissal, a guilty plea, or a guilty verdict. Either way, all cases at arraignment level will be either sent to trial or to a county diversionary program.
Bucks County Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented numerous clients who've acquired both misdemeanor and felony DUI charges. He understands that every case calls for planning, strategizing, and attention to detail, so you should seek help immediately. Time is of the essence. If you've been charged with a DUI and are uncertain about what to do next, contact Joseph D. Lento today online or give him a call at (215) 535-5353 at the earliest available opportunity for assistance.