In Pennsylvania, a DUI arrest is the beginning of a long, complicated process. Many people feel like they’re holding their breath waiting for what’s next. As a Chester County defense attorney, one of the first questions a DUI client asks is, “How long does a DUI case take?”
While it’s difficult to give a precise answer, the short answer is that, on average, it will take approximately 6 months to resolve a DUI. If you’ve been arrested for DUI, the best thing you can do is contact an experienced DUI attorney.
The Skinner Law Firm works with people facing DUI charges in West Chester and Chester County, PA. Let us pursue the best available outcome and help move you through the system as quickly and painlessly as possible. Contact us online or call (610) 436-1410 to schedule a free consultation today.
If you are arrested for DUI, you will be held in police custody while you are processed. This can take anywhere between a few hours or days if you need to appear before a judge. This will largely depend on where your DUI occurred, the circumstances involved, and your prior criminal history.
You will receive paperwork in the mail formally charging you with DUI anywhere from 10 days to several weeks after being released from custody. This is commonly referred to as the summons. It will include an affidavit of probable cause, which will explain the basis of your charge. It will also include a subpoena to appear in court. You want to make a note of the court date and be certain to appear. Failing to appear on your court day will carry very serious repercussions.
The first court appearance in your DUI case is the preliminary hearing. This is typically held 30 to 60 days from the date of your arrest, although it will depend on when you receive your summons. It’s important to note that the preliminary hearing is not a trial. The purpose of the hearing is to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to support the charge.
The next step in the DUI process is the arraignment. The arraignment hearing will be scheduled approximately 30 to 60 days from your preliminary hearing. At your arraignment, you will be formally presented with a copy of the charges against you and informed of your rights.
If you enter a “not guilty” plea, your case will be set for trial. The timing of your trial date will depend on the court’s calendar. But it could be several months after your arraignment. While you may want your case to be resolved sooner rather than later, you may be able to get your case dismissed by motion during this time if you can demonstrate that the charges are invalid.
If you don’t want to go to trial, you may have the option of applying for an “accelerated rehabilitative disposition” or ARD. Each county has its own ARD program with specific eligibility requirements. In short, the ARD program allows you to avoid having a criminal record in exchange for probation and participating in court-ordered programs such as an alcohol assessment or Alcohol Highway Safety School.
If you apply for ARD, you will be given a court date approximately 60 days from your arraignment to assess your application and decide on the next steps.
A DUI charge can impact your life for years. West Chester DUI defense attorney a href=”/about/michael-j-skinner/” title=”Attorney Michael J. Michael”>Michael J. Skinner has the knowledge, skill, and experience to make sure you get a fair result.