At your preliminary hearing, if there is enough evidence to proceed to the next level, the judge will have you sign for your formal arraignment which usually takes place about 30 days later up in the main court house. You need to have a criminal attorney. He or she may be able to have you enter a first time offenders program called ARD which would ultimately result in the charge being dismissed.
I agree with my colleague, and would urge you to speak with a criminal defense attorney before your preliminary hearing. In many instances, in order to be eligible for the ARD program you have to waive the preliminary hearing. You're out of luck if you don't.
And be very mindful of the date of the arraignment (the next step of your process). That date starts the clock for things you have to do within a certain period of time, like bill of particulars, motions and discovery. Again, please speak with an experienced criminal attorney before you do anything.
Michelle A. Fioravanti, Esq.
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I've seen it take as little as 25 days and as long as almost 60. It really depends on the county you are in.
This information does not create an attorney /client relationship and should not be use or relied upon to make any decision in your case. Only consultation with your own attorney can provide you with the advice you need for your case.