If you've been charged with a DUI, you will spend a lot of time in court. After an arrest is documented, you will receive a summons in the mail to appear in court, unless advised otherwise by an attorney or judge. Attendance for many of these dates isn't optional. Some of them are mandatory, with or without representation.
If a person doesn't have an attorney, it is absolutely necessary for them to appear in court. With representation, there is some breathing room for defendants. In some circumstances, an attorney can sit in for a defendant at a court date, while they handle their obligations outside of the courtroom. Besides being in the courtroom a lot less, defendants with an attorney have an increased chance of achieving a favorable case outcome.
If you have been charged with a DUI in Montgomery 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.
The “preliminary hearing” is the first court appearance for people charged with a DUI. 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 is typically scheduled within 30 days of an arrest, but dates may vary based on the circumstances. It will be conducted in the district where the alleged crime took place.
With the harsh repercussions that come with a missing court date, all defendants should be completely sure about when and where their court dates are scheduled. Reaching out to the district court, the clerk's office, or seeking an experienced attorney is the best way to confirm that your dates are correct.
Rescheduling Court Dates
With prior notice, and with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, defendants can reschedule their court dates in Montgomery County. A judge may feel compelled to grant a continuance based on multiple reasons, including attorney and client unavailability.
Arraignment - Filing a Plea
Following a preliminary hearing, the case will reach the arraignment state of the Court of Common Pleas level. If a defendant and attorney have agreed to plead “not guilty,” the matter will advance through the court. Ultimately, a case will generally be resolved by dismissal, a guilty plea, or a guilty verdict, and all cases will either be sent to trial or to a county diversionary program, like the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program.
Montgomery County Criminal Defense Attorney
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has represented numerous clients who've acquired both misdemeanor and felony DUI charges in Montgomery 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 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.