If you are charged with a DUI in Dauphin County, you may be scared or confused. This is totally understandable. A DUI is a very serious criminal charge and can affect you for years to come. In this series of blog posts we will try to help guide you to make this tough time a little easier. If you have any questions, please feel free to call 1-866-MCSHANE.
One of the first steps after you are charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania is the preliminary hearing. A Preliminary Hearing is the right of the defendant to ensure he/she is not being prosecuted unjustly. In Dauphin County, a preliminary hearing will be held in one of the Magisterial District Courts in Dauphin County.
In the preliminary hearing, the burden of proof on the prosecution is to show prima facie before a Magisterial District Judge. Basically they have to show that a crime has been committed and that more likely than not the suspect has committed this crime. If they do not have enough evidence to proceed, the judge will dismiss the case at this stage.
Many people, due to a lack of understanding about legal procedures, elect to waive the preliminary hearing. This is not a sound defense strategy. A good DUI defense lawyer will look to challenge the evidence at the preliminary hearing and show why this evidence will not support a full trial. This is also a good opportunity to lock-in the police officer to a testimony so they can’t waiver at the trial stage.
If the prosecution is successful at the preliminary hearing, the case will be assigned to The Court of Common Pleas and will move to the pre-trial stage.
If you are facing a DUI preliminary hearing in Dauphin County, please call 1-866-MCSHANE for a free consultation.