Pennsylvania DUI Court Process

What is the Pennsylvania

Court Process for a DUI?

The Pennsylvania DUI Court Process

If you or a loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, the case will work its way through Pennsylvania’s criminal court system. The process can be confusing, intimidating, and lengthy, but an experienced DUI defense attorney like Paul S. Peters III, Esq. will help you understand and feel comfortable through the different steps.

Preliminary arraignment

The first time you appear in court will be at your preliminary arraignment. The charges against you will be read at that time and you will have the chance to enter your plea of guilty or not guilty. The Magisterial Judge will then set bail to ensure your appearance at the next court hearing.  The date for the next step in the process, the preliminary hearing, will be scheduled.

In some cases, the police may release you without seeing a judge and then mail you a summons to appear in court for your preliminary hearing.  It is then, the judge will discuss bail and the charges.

In Philadelphia, you will appear before a bail commissioner via closed-circuit TV from the police station where you were taken and processed.

Preliminary Hearing

Your preliminary hearing will be held in front of a magistrate judge and is a very important hearing in your case. The District Attorney has the burden of proving a prima facie case which is that the crime of DUI was committed and that you were probably the one who committed it. At this stage, Paul S. Peters III, Esq. may be able to get some or all the DUI charges against you dismissed or dropped in exchange for a hearing waiver.

If the District Attorney and Attorney Peters believe you are a candidate for the DUI Diversion program, ARD, waiving your preliminary hearing will be required for the District Attorney to consider your entry into the ARD program.

After the Preliminary Hearing, your case will proceed to the County Court of Common Pleas.

Formal Arraignment

The next scheduled hearing will be your Formal Arraignment at the County Courthouse.  This hearing is to ensure you are aware of the charges against you, are represented by counsel, and for you to enter your plea.  Typically, Attorney Peters will have you sign a form at the Preliminary Hearing allowing you to waive the arraignment and not have to appear in court.

At this time or shortly thereafter, Attorney Peters receive the police reports and other evidence pertaining to your DUI charge; this is referred to as discovery.

It is also between this hearing and your Pre-Trial Conference that your ARD application will be submitted, and Attorney Peters will advocate for your entry into the program.

Pre-trial conference

After your formal arraignment, your pre-trial conference is the next stage. Each county in Pennsylvania has its own local procedures for handling cases in a pre-trial conference and they vary from county to county.

In most counties the pre-trial conference is an opportunity for issues to be resolved before a trial is held. At this time, the Court will ask if all discovery has been provided to Attorney Peters.  If not, the District Attorney will be ordered to provide discovery as soon as possible; if Attorney Peters believes some evidence is missing from the discovery, he can request it at this hearing. 

Attorney Peters can use this hearing to speak with the District Attorney to negotiate the best possible plea bargain if you are not eligible for ARD and going to trial will bring serious risks.

If you are eligible for ARD, this will be confirmed with the District Attorney and Court at your Pre-Trial conference and given an ARD hearing date.


If your case has not been resolved either through acceptance into the ARD Program or a plea deal, a trial is the next step in the process. The results of the trial will determine whether you are innocent or guilty of DUI. After the jury delivers its verdict and announces it in court, the judge will sentence you if you were found guilty.

How Paul S. Peters III, Esq. Will Help

When you are up against DUI charges, you need an attorney, like Paul S. Peters III, Esquire who will stand by you every step of the way, work hard to discredit any evidence – and work with you to determine your best course of action.  Attorney Peters will advocate for your entry into the ARD program if feasible, fight for the best plea deal possible if that is your best option, or be fully prepared to defend your rights at trial and attack all evidence against you.  For trial, Attorney Peters has a network of experts in different areas of DUI evidence that you will have the option to hire for testimony and analysis in your trial.

Pennsylvania DUI Law

DUI is described and defined under The Pennsylvania Code under Title 75, Chapter 38. Read the code here.

If you or a loved one have been charged with DUI in Montgomery, Philadelphia, Bucks,            DelawareChesterLehighLancasterNorthamptonBerks, County, it is vital that you contact the Aggressive, Experienced, Trusted, and Compassionate Pennsylvania DUI Defense Lawyer, Paul S. Peters III, Esq.

To protect your rights in a DUI case, YOU BETTER CALL PAUL!


215-291-2944   or   215-696-1509

Call 24 Hours/7 Days a week as Paul knows that the Police and Crime never sleep!



If you arrest in any of the following Pennsylvania Counties:            MontgomeryPhiladelphiaBucksDelawareChesterLehigh, LancasterNorthamptonBerksAdamsCumberlandDauphinFranklinFultonHuntingtonJuniataLebanonMifflinPerrySnyderYork BradfordCameronCentreClintonLycomingMontourNorthumberlandPotterSullivanTiogaUnionCarbonColumbiaLackawannaLuzerneMonroePikeSchuylkillSusquehannaWayne, and Wyoming County 

It is important you contact the trusted, aggressive, and experienced Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney:


Paul S. Peters III, Esquire at: