People charged with DUIs will spend a lot of their time in court. As soon as an arrest is officially documented, defendants will receive a summons in the mail to appear in court (unless advised otherwise by an attorney or judge). Most of these court dates aren't optional. Many of them are mandatory, with or without representation.
Without representation, a person's best bet is to always appear in court. With representation, there is some breathing room. For example, in some circumstances, an attorney can sit in for a defendant at a court date, while they handle their obligations outside of the courtroom. Aside from being in the courtroom a lot less, defendants with a criminal defense attorney have a higher likelihood of achieving a favorable case outcome.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Delaware County aren't sure about your next course of action, read on. We'll shed light on the process, initial court appearances and other relevant information. For more information about your specific case or representation, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today.
In Delaware County, the initial appearance in court for a DUI is known as a “preliminary hearing.” In this hearing, the prosecution (the Commonwealth) is given an opportunity to present evidence that justifies putting a defendant on trial. After doing so, the judge will gauge the validity of the prosecution's evidence and decide whether or not it's necessary for a case to proceed. A preliminary hearing court date is usually scheduled within 30 days of an arrest, but dates may vary. It will be conducted in the district where the alleged crime took place.
If the case progresses to the district court level, court dates and other relevant information will be available at the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas in Media, PA. Since the consequences for missing a court date can be steep, it's important defendants are completely sure about when and where their scheduled appearances are. Reaching out to the district court, the clerk's officer, or an experienced attorney is the best way to confirm that your court dates are correct.
Rescheduling Court Dates
With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney and prior notice, court dates may be scheduled in Delaware County. A judge is compelled to make this decision for multiple reasons, including attorney availability and client unavailability.
Arraignment - Filing a Plea
Following a preliminary hearing, the case will reach the arraignment stage of the process. If, after deliberation amongst an attorney and a defendant, they agree to plead “not guilty,” the matter will be advanced through the court. Ultimately, the matter will be resolved by dismissal, a guilty plea, or a guilty verdict. Regardless, all cases at arraignment level will be either sent to trial or to a county diversionary program, like the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.
Delaware 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.