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Pennsylvania DUI
Court Procedures:
What to do.

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Pennsylvania DUI Law Court Procedure

Driving Under the Influence Court: What to do.

The first thing you want to do is consult with an experienced attorney because the procedure is complicated no matter which way you elect to proceed.

Generally after you have been stopped for a DUI the following happens:

A District Justice that issues a Criminal Complaint and will send you a copy of the court papers. They are normally sent by Certified Mail R/R/R and regular mail (pick up the Certified mail). The Court Papers will include a Complaint and Affidavit of Probable Cause and will include a Notice to Appear for a Preliminary Hearing and sometimes a separate Notice to Appear for a Preliminary Arraignment and sometimes a Fingerprint Order. An attorney can combine both dates, advise you how to comply with any Court Orders and obtain a Continuance if the Hearing is important.

Note: Inexperienced attorneys usually advise you to Waive the Preliminary Hearing and/or tell you to appear at the Hearing alone. Appearing alone is never a good idea and Waiving the Hearing can be a big mistake. Much needed information can be obtained at this Hearing which will be crucial to a successful defense.

Also if you refused a chemical test or if the arresting officer alleged that you refused the test you will receive a separate notice from PENNDOT advising you to surrender your driver’s license for one year. This action can be appealed but action must be taken immediately.

Most District Justices are not trained judges or even attorneys. The vast majority of District Justices are retired police personnel. Consequently they are not invested with much authority. Their job when presiding over a Preliminary Hearing is simply to decide if they think it is more likely that the DUI was committed or not. They listen to the arresting officer and by statute must believe every word he/she says. Therefore, almost all DUI charges are sent to the Court of Common Pleas for final disposition.

The options in the Court of Common Pleas are as follows:

1. Plead guilty and go to jail.

2. Apply for ARD (first offenders only).

3. Plead not guilty and demand all of your rights including but not limited to hearings to determine the probable cause of the arresting officer to stop you and/or demand a chemical test, the admissibility and/or reliability of the chemical test, the true nature of the alleged refusal to take a chemical test. The option best suited for you depends on many factors all of which should be discussed with an attorney immediately.


York, Pennsylvania Office York, PA DUI information

Phone Number: 717-381-1984
York, Pennsylvania Address: 236 N George St. York, PA 17401
Email: tjraven@earthlink.net FAX: 717-394-4474

Lancaster, Pennsylvania Office
Lancaster DUI information
Phone Number: 717-381-1984
Lancaster, Pennsylvania Address: 44 N Christian St. Suite 250 Lancaster, PA 17602
Email: tjraven@earthlink.net FAX: 717-394-4474