Following a DUI arrest and charge in Chester County, you will have to endure the drawn-out and arduous criminal prosecution process. While going through each phase of this process, one thing is certain: you'll be in court a lot. Within 30 days of an arrest, you'll likely receive a summons in the mail to appear in court (or issued a warrant depending on the type of DUI), unless otherwise indicated by an attorney, judge or law enforcement. Some of these court dates aren't optional. In fact, many scheduled court dates are mandatory for defendants, with or without representation.
This is one of the most difficult aspects of a criminal charge for defendants with many obligations, busy lives, careers, and families. But deciding to not attend a court date may not be worth it in any circumstance. If a person fails to appear at a mandatory court date, they can face an immediate bench warrant, and get bail and bond conditions stripped. Also, if law enforcement finds you and brings you to court, the chances of being released by bail or bond are very slim the second time around.
You should always appear in court if you don't have representation. But retaining legal counsel is important with a DUI charge. One of the advantages of having an attorney is having one sit in for you in some court appearances. This way, you can take care of your obligations outside of the courtroom, while they do most of the legwork. Aside from being in court a lot less, defendants with skilled representation also have increased chances of success in court.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Chester County, and don't know what your next steps are, this article will give you some insight. We'll address all of the relevant details concerning court appearances in the county. For more information about your specific case, or how to get representation, contact skilled DUI attorney Joseph D. Lento today.
In Chester County, the first appearance in court for a DUI is called a “preliminary hearing.” In this hearing, the judge will gauge the validity of the prosecution's evidence and will decide whether or not it is necessary for the case to progress. A preliminary hearing will be scheduled in the district the alleged crime took place.
If the case progresses past the district court level, the court dates and other relevant information will be available at the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County in West Chester. Reaching out to the district court, the clerk's office, or an experienced attorney is the only way to confirm that your court dates are correct.
Rescheduling Court Dates
With the help of an experienced attorney, and with prior notice, it is possible for court dates to be rescheduled in Chester County. Judges have been known to grant continuances for several reasons, including attorney or client unavailability.
Arraignment - Filing a Plea
After a preliminary hearing, the case will advance to the arraignment stage. If a defendant and an attorney decide that pleading “not guilty” is the best decision, this matter will advance through the court and ultimately be resolved by either a dismissal, a guilty plea, or a guilty verdict. Overall, all cases at this level will either be sent to trial or to a county diversion program, like the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.
Chester County Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented numerous clients who've acquired both misdemeanor and felony DUI charges in Chester County. 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 in Chester County 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.