Following a vehicle stop, Field Sobriety Tests and chemical testing of breath or blood, a DUI prosecution can begin with handcuffs and processing through the Allegheny County Jail. Or you can be released from custody and the prosecution can begin by the mailing of official paperwork in the form of a Summons.
You will 1) receive a copy of the charging document, the “Police Criminal Complaint”; 2) a Magisterial District Judge will set your “Bond” to assure your appearance at all the following steps in the prosecution process; and 3) you will be notified of the date of the next step, the Preliminary Hearing. Regarding the Bond, you can simply be released on your promise to appear at all future Court hearings (R.O.R.), or a monetary Bond can be set that you will be required to post before you can be released from Jail.
The first Court hearing where evidence is presented, witnesses testify, and argument made by your lawyer, perhaps even for dismissal of the prosecution. This Hearing can be also be “Waived” in order to proceed to trial in exchange for amendments to the charges.
In Allegheny County, this step is usually administrative wherein additional paperwork is received and application for “Discovery” is made. However, if Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (A.R.D.) is an option in your case, this deal can be concluded at this stage.
In Allegheny County, you and your attorney appear in the trial courtroom and select a trial date in the case. In addition, this is a first opportunity for your lawyer to meet with the District Attorney assigned to your case in order to discuss charges and possible Plea Bargains.
The time at which your D.U.I. prosecution is resolved on the basis of a Jury Trial, Non-Jury Trial or negotiated Guilty Plea.
Sentences in D.U.I. prosecutions are to a significant extend determined by the Pennsylvania legislature in the form of “mandatory minimum” sentences. You can see what your sentence will be by looking at the D.U.I. Sentencing Matrix by looking for the number D.U.I. You receive your sentence as set by the judge.