Your Guide to the DUI Court Process

dui courtA DUI arrest can be a frightening event. The first thing to understand is that an arrest is not a conviction. You have a right to defend yourself against the charge, and you should immediately hire a lawyer to mount your DUI defense in Pennsylvania. 

Navigating the Courts 

When in custody, you should not say anything until your attorney arrives. The State College criminal lawyer you hire will advise you on how to answer any questions put to you. The lawyer will also help guide you through the court process. 

The first thing that will happen is an arraignment in which the charges against you will be read and you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. You should be arraigned within 72 hours of your arrest, and your attorney will fight to make this happen. 

Your next court appearance will be a preliminary hearing. This is a crucial phase of the judicial process. It may be possible to have some or all of the charges against you dropped during a preliminary hearing. 

An experienced and highly-skilled lawyer will handle this hearing for you. If the police acted improperly before or after you were stopped, your attorney will reference the police conduct to make an argument for dropping the charges. Your lawyer will also investigate the devices or tests used to determine your blood alcohol level. If the devices or tests are found legally insufficient, the lawyer can have the charges against you dropped. 

If the evidence against you is very strong, it may still be possible for your lawyer to reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor. If it is your first offense, you may have the option of participating in a pre-trial diversionary program. If you complete the program successfully, the charges against you will be dropped. 

It is important to have adequate legal representation after a DUI arrest. If you have been arrested for DUI, you should speak to experienced State College PA criminal defense attorney Stephanie VanHorn of Engle Kauffman & VanHorn.