All cases brought by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania begin with an arrest or a summons to appear in Court. A summons is often used in DUI cases where charges are not brought against you immediately.
The preliminary hearing is the first stage of the criminal court process that allows you, the accused, an opportunity to confront the evidence against you. At a preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth must establish a prima facie case of guilt against you.
MOTION TO SUPPRESS
Various motions may be filed with the trial court after the Preliminary Hearing. A Motion to Suppress is generally filed when you were the subject of an illegal search (Motion to Suppress the evidence) or you were interrogated and provided a statement without being advised of your right to remain silent and/or your right to counsel (Motion to Suppress your statement).
A plea of guilty is a confession of guilt to a certain crime. A plea bargain is usually the offer of the prosecutor to the defendnat to enter a guilty plea to a lesser offense or to only one of some or the counts of indictment in return for a lighter sentence than that possible for the most serious charge.
ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program)
If you are charged with certain misdemeanor or felony offenses and you have no hustory of criminal activity, you may be eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Dispoisition (ARD) program. Mandatory License Suspension penalties for DUI offenders in the ARD program are as follows: -No suspension is BAC is under .10% -30-day suspension if BAC is between .10% and .159% -60-day suspension if BAC is .16% or greater, BAC is unknown, the DUI involves drugs, or it involves an Implied Consent Violation -90-day suspension if the operator is a minor
SUMMARY AND TRAFFIC MATTERS
Summary matters and traffic citations are resolved differently than misdemeanor or felony charges. These hearings take place and are resolved at the local magisterail district court.
A misdemeanor is an offense that is categorized higher than a summary, but lower than a felony and is usually punishable by a fine, penalty, forfeiture or imprisonment.
A felony is an offense that is categorized as being a more serious rcime than those designated as misdemeanors or summary offenses. It is usually punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.