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What to Expect at Your DUI Trial

Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC Oct. 23, 2023

Law gavel, alcohol and car keys on a wooden deskNobody expects or wants to be charged with a DUI, but even the best among us make mistakes and have to face the consequences. If you’ve been arrested for a DUI, know that your life is not over, but you will have to go through the trial process and accept whatever penalties come from it. Preparing for this is one of the best things you can do for yourself, but it should never be done alone.  

If you live in or around the York, Pennsylvania, area, including Lancaster, Harrisburg, or Camp Hill, reach out to us at Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC. Here, you’ll meet with an experienced DUI defense attorney and learn more about what to expect at your DUI trial.  

What Happens at a DUI Trial?

Not every DUI trial will be the same, but they will all follow the same general process. However, one thing that may be different is whether you will have a judge or jury hear your case. Beyond this, you can expect these steps: 

  1. After you’re first arrested, you’ll be scheduled for your arraignment. This is the first time you’ll see a judge and be read your charges, and then your trial will be scheduled. 

  1. Next, you may or may not have a preliminary hearing. This is where the judge will look at initial evidence and decide if they think there’s enough to continue with the trial. If there is, then a trial will be scheduled. 

  1. If you do have a jury trial, the first step will be jury selection. 

  1. During the trial, both sides will make their opening statements, have an opportunity to present their case and evidence, and then make their closing statements. 

  1. The jury will then deliberate and return with their verdict. It’s worth noting that the jury is not the one who will hand down your sentence. This will be done at your sentencing hearing by the judge. 

How to Prepare

Work with an attorney: Perhaps the single most important thing you can do to help yourself when faced with a DUI is to hire a skilled lawyer. You should never try to represent yourself in court.  

Understand the details of your case: Most DUIs are categorized as a misdemeanor, but this may change if you’ve had past convictions for DUIs. For example, in Pennsylvania, a third offense for a DUI with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16% or higher is considered a felony. Details like this will affect how you and your lawyer will formulate your defense strategy. 

Dress professionally: You should always present yourself well in front of the judge and jury. This will send a signal that you are taking the trial seriously and that you respect the judge.  

Keep your records/documents organized: Providing clear and convincing evidence is key to any successful case, and staying organized will help you immensely.    

What the Prosecution Needs to Prove for a DWI Conviction

The prosecution has one basic job to do during the trial—proving that you were driving under the influence of alcohol. In Pennsylvania, as it is across the entire country, this means that someone has a BAC of at least 0.08% or above. The state also recognizes that higher BAC limits indicate a more serious crime. For instance, a “high” BAC level is set at .10 to .159%, and the “highest” BAC level is .16% and higher. These charges come with stiffer penalties. 

Reliable Legal Representation

If you’re looking for information and legal guidance about a recent DUI charge you’re facing, call us at Korey Leslie, Attorney-At-Law, LLC in York, Pennsylvania. We can help you through the entire legal process so your rights are defended and you have a chance at the best possible outcome.