DUI Process in Erie, Pennsylvania

What Happens After I am Arrested for DUI?

After an arrest for DUI in Erie, Pennsylvania, you may wonder what lies ahead. Uncertainty about the process leads to additional stress and anxiety. That is why it is important to have a DUI attorney at your side. Let us look at the journey you will take after a DUI arrest.

What Happens Immediately After the Arrest

Initially, after the DUI stop, the police officer will ask you to perform a series of roadside tests for balance and coordination and use a Breathalyzer. Based on the results, you may face an arrest and be transported to the police station. There you’ll have an opportunity to take a blood test. You will also be given a chance to call your attorney. The attorney can ensure that problems with testing and other tests do not provide false reasons for a DUI charge

Your First Court Date

This preliminary hearing is the first time you will appear in court. The court reads the charges against you, and you will have the chance to plead guilty or not guilty. Normally, the preliminary hearing occurs within two or three days if you are being held. However, if you are released on bail, the court may extend the date. 

What Happens If You Are Released?

As we said, if the court releases you on your own recognizance or you posted bail, the situation changes. In some cases, the court mails the notice of charges to you. If this occurs, the paperwork will instruct you when you should appear for the preliminary hearing. Your Travis DUI attorney can accompany you to this hearing, which may occur 30 to 60 days after the arrest.

Where Does the Preliminary Hearing Occur?

The preliminary hearing will occur in the district court in the city where the arrest took place and heard by a local judge. 

What Will the Judge Do?

The judge will decide if there is reason to believe there is probable cause. This means there were reasonable grounds for the arrest. During this, your attorney may argue against the arrest for specific reasons, and some charges may be eliminated. However, if the judge affirms the charges, your case is sent to the County Court. The time of the arraignment hearing is set and commonly occurs within 60 days.

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)

First-time offenders receive this offer in Pennsylvania. The definition of AED is “probation without a verdict.” The court orders a punishment, but there is no conviction or even a guilty plea. When you plead guilty or are convicted, it will affect your life, the ability to rent or the chance of getting a job. The specific punishment changes according to the charges. However, if the offender complete the ARD successfully, the charges might be expunged and there is no conviction. 

Pretrial Conference

Pretrial motions can improve the resolution of your case. Your defense attorney offers these during the Pretrial conference. Note, they can be offered at the preliminary hearing. Some motions your attorney may make are:

  • A motion to suppress evidence
  • A motion in limine discussed outside of the jury
  • A motion concerning discovery
  • A motion to dismiss

Plea Bargain

A plea bargain occurs when the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a redacted punishment or charges. This makes it easier on the district attorney since the case will not go to trial, lessening their caseload.

When the Case Goes to Trial

If your case goes to trial, both the district attorney and your lawyer will present their findings. The jury will receive it and deliver a verdict. The judge will then announce your punishment. The jurors must be unanimous in their decision for a guilty verdict to be handed down. 

Travis DUI Lawyers

If you face DUI charges, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. At the Travis Law Firm, we stand by our clients throughout this ordeal. Call us at (814) 277-2222, or your family can contact us online to schedule a free case review. Our lawyers will search for faulty evidence and fight for your right to be represented in a court of law. Don’t try to go it alone. Let us work to reduce your charges and/or sentence.