Once an officer suspects that you have violated the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code, they will pull you over. An officer will approach your vehicle to ask for your license and registration. During this time, the officer will look for signs of impairment such as smelling the odor of alcohol, glassy or bloodshot eyes, or slurred speech.
If the officer detects any signs of alcohol consumption, the officer will ask you to participate in field sobriety tests. After confirming the officerâs suspicion that you have consumed alcohol, the officer may also ask you to submit to a breath test. Following these events, you are then placed under arrest and either taken to the police station or hospital to perform breath or blood testing.
Following the arrest, criminal charges are then filed against you. The first hearing is a preliminary hearing. During the preliminary hearing, a District Judge will determine two things: (1) whether a crime occurred; and (2) whether you were the person who likely committed it. The officer is required to establish that they had probable cause to make the stop and make the arrest and that you were the person that was arrested. The preliminary hearing has a very low burden of proof and the purpose is determine whether the officer has enough evidence to charge you with a DUI.
Following the preliminary hearing is the arraignment. The arraignment occurs 30-60 days after the preliminary hearing if the defendant is released on their ownÂ recognizance or on bail. The arraignment is when the defendant is formally charged with the offense. During the arraignment, the defendant can (1) plead guilty and receive a sentence; (2) plead not guilty and wait for a date for their hearing; or (3) participate in alternative programs such as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) or their county’s Alternative Sentencing Programs (ASP).
To determine which option is best for your personal circumstances, contract an attorney. You can contact Zachary Zawarski for a free consultation by calling (484) 362-9286.