After you get charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania, it’s normal to want your life to be simple again. You don’t want to think about fines, laws, and possible jail time. And you certainly don’t want to go to court. If that sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Court can be stressful for those unfamiliar with the process. And that stress is much worse when your criminal record, driver’s license, and freedom may be on the line.

The Court Process for a DUI in West Chester

To avoid court for a DUI, you need to understand the court process for DUIs in West Chester. In Chester County, PA, your DUI arrest is step one. Step two is your preliminary hearing, which happens one or two months later in district court.

The preliminary hearing is your first court appearance. If you feel strongly that you do not want to appear in court at all, you can waive this hearing.

However, keep in mind that you might give up a key chance to get your DUI charge dropped or dismissed. Talk to your lawyer about whether waiving this hearing is wise in your case.

After the preliminary hearing, your case heads to the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County. This is where your trial will take place. But your lawyer will likely fight to resolve your DUI case well before it goes to trial.

Ways to Avoid Going to Court for a DUI

Court isn’t a must when you’re charged with a DUI. Below, we look at three ways you might be able to avoid going to court.

1. Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program

Pennsylvania’s ARD program won’t allow you to avoid court entirely, but it could help you avoid a trial. You will still have to appear at your preliminary hearing. And if the court thinks ARD could be an option for you, you may have to attend an ARD hearing.

ARD Program Requirements

This program offers an alternative to jail time. If you are eligible for it, you will have to complete certain requirements. These could include:

ARD for a DUI is possible. But there are strict requirements for getting into the program. Talk to your lawyer to see if ARD is an option in your DUI or drugged driving case.

2. Plea Deals

Your lawyer can help you avoid a trial by seeking a plea deal for you. These deals can take many forms, but the basic idea is that you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge than DUI.

3. Get the DUI Charge Dropped

There’s no better way to avoid going to court than to have your charges dismissed or dropped. That way, you are free and clear. You can get back to your life.

This may sound like a fantasy, but it happens. Sometimes, there are holes in the case against you. If your lawyer can use those holes to convince the prosecutor that a trial isn’t worth it, they or the judge may drop or dismiss the charge.

Charged with a DUI in West Chester? Contact Skinner Law Firm

Getting a DUI doesn’t mean you will have to go to court. Although there are some cases where court will be unavoidable, a lawyer can help you resolve your DUI with as little time in court as possible. That way, you can lower your stress, focus on what matters, and get back to your life.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in West Chester, Phoenixville, Exton, Wayne, Kennett Square, Oxford, Coatesville, or anywhere in Chester County, it’s time to act.

To team up with a trusted DUI lawyer, contact Skinner Law Firm. Our experienced team will give you an honest assessment of your options to move forward. Schedule a free consultation today.

Give us a call at 610-436-1410 or contact us online.

Article Author

Michael J. Skinner, the founder of Skinner Law Firm LLC, is a former prosecutor with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.

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