Navigating the DUI Process in Erie, PA

When You’re Placed Under Arrest for a Pennsylvania DUI

Being placed under arrest in Erie for a DUI can leave you rattled, wondering what is going to happen and whether you’ll face jail time and heavy fines. Not knowing what lies ahead contributes to anxiety and stress because you know this is a serious charge that can potentially affect your life in the future. An experienced DUI lawyer can be of great help in this situation. Following is an explanation of the procedures that will take place before and after your arrest.

When You’re Placed Under Arrest

As part of a DUI stop, police officers typically ask you to perform various roadside tests for balance and coordination, as well as conduct a Breathalyzer test. It is possible that you will be arrested and taken to the police station based on the results. A blood test will probably be taken once you arrive, which is a more accurate indication of your level of intoxication. At this point, you should call your attorney because they can defend you against the charge and protect your rights. If the attorney is able to show that issues with the testing are used to create false reasons for a DUI charge, then that charge will not stand. 

Appearing in Court for a DUI

You will appear in court for the first time at a preliminary hearing. You can plead guilty or not guilty when the charges against you are read aloud in court. If you are being detained, you would usually have your preliminary hearing within two or three days. Whether the date for your preliminary hearing is extended is up to the court if you are released on bail. 

What Happens if You’re Released

If you are released by the court, either on bail or your own recognizance, the procedure is a little different. The court will mail you a notice of the charge/charges against you and give you the date for your preliminary hearing. You can be accompanied to your hearing by your DUI attorney. These hearings normally schedule the accused person’s appearance between 30 and 60 days after your arrest and are held at the district court where your arrest took place. 

The Judge Decides on Whether Probable Cause Exists in the Case

Whether or not there is probable cause will be decided by the judge. By saying that there was probable cause, it means the judge thinks that the arrest was reasonable. During this time, your attorney may object to the arrest for a number of specific reasons, and some charges may be reduced or eliminated. The case will be sent to the County Court, however, if the judge confirms the charges. Arraignment hearings typically occur within 60 days.

Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for First Offenders

Those who are first offenders in Pennsylvania DUI cases can be offered the ARD program, which places them on probation without a verdict being reached. The accused doesn’t even have to enter a guilty plea or be convicted. This is important because a conviction or guilty plea can affect your ability to get a job or rent an apartment. Successful completion of the ARD could result in the charges being expunged. 

The Pre-trial Conference Can Improve Your Standing in the Case

You may be able to resolve your case better with pre-trial motions. These will be discussed at a pre-trial conference. Your attorney may bring the following motions:

  • To have certain evidence suppressed
  • A motion in limine, which is a request made to the judge
  • A motion to dismiss the case
  • A motion concerning discovery in the case

Plea Bargaining

The defendant enters into a plea deal when he pleads guilty and receives a redacted punishment or charge. As a result, the district attorney’s caseload is lessened since the case won’t go to trial.

Taking the Case to Trial

The district attorney and your lawyer present their findings at trial if your case goes that far. The jury members make their decision on whether or not you are guilty, which has to be unanimous and present their verdict. The judge then announces your sentence.

The Travis Law Firm – Your DUI Defense Attorneys

During a DUI arrest, you are entitled to have an attorney represent you. We stand by our clients at the Travis Law Firm during this difficult time. To schedule a free case review, please call (814) 277-2222 or contact us online. Our lawyers fight for you every step of the way.