Preliminary Hearing: What You Can Expect

Preliminary Hearing: What You Can Expect

It’s always a good idea to have a criminal defense attorney represent you at a preliminary hearing.

You should hire a criminal defense lawyer before the preliminary hearing.

Before you proceed to a trial in front of a jury the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you should know that you are constitutionally guaranteed to have a preliminary hearing and you should hire a criminal defense lawyer prior to the preliminary hearing.

Here’s What To Expect At The Preliminary Hearing

At the preliminary hearing, the Prosecutor must present evidence to the Magistrate to prove that (1) a crime was committed and (2) you were responsible.  

The standard of proof at the preliminary hearing is by a preponderance of evidence — meaning that something was more likely than not. If the Magistrate finds there’s sufficient evidence he will hold the case over for a jury trial at the court of common pleas.

If the judge finds the evidence lacking he could dismiss the case completely or dismiss some charges and allow the case to proceed.

Here’s What To Expect At A Suppression Hearing

A suppression hearing is a court appearance where both sides can argue about whether the evidence against a defendant should be thrown out because the defendant’s constitutional rights were violated. It’s instituted by your defense attorney filing a Motion to Suppress the evidence.  

Evidence being suppressed means that it can no longer be used at trial and often times this is devastating to the Prosecution’s case. The Prosecution begins the hearing with testimony that explains why the evidence should be allowed.

This is another chance for a criminal defense lawyer to be able to question the witnesses before trial. In addition, the defense attorney gets to put on evidence of its own explaining why the evidence should be suppressed.

Typical motions to suppress include:

  • Physical evidence illegally obtained by the police through an illegal search
  • Identifications by show-up or line-up or photo line-ups or
  • Suppression of statements of the accused taken by the police
  • After the hearing, the case proceeds to trial

When your case is put on the trial list, it’s expected that your case will proceed to a full trial and the court will take steps to secure a jury panel to hear your case.

At the time of trial, the Commonwealth must prove that you are guilty of the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reasonable doubt is a doubt that would cause of a reasonably prudent person to pause or hesitate before making an important decision in their life.

You would not be required to present any evidence or to testify but you have the right to do both if you wish. All 12 jurors would have to agree that you are either guilty or not guilty.

Here’s What To Expect At A Sentencing Hearing

If your case ends with a conviction, either due to a guilty plea or a finding of guilt after trial, the next step will be a sentencing hearing.

  • If you have pled guilty, the sentencing hearing can either take place on the day of the plea or on a subsequent date.
  • At your sentencing hearing you, or your attorney, will be permitted to present arguments for the sentence that you feel is warranted based on your criminal offense.
  • Often times, this is your chance to explain why the crime was committed, how you plan on rehabilitating yourself and apologize for your conduct in hopes that you receive a lighter sentence.

Allow the Shelton Firm to represent you today.  Hire our criminal defense attorney to fight those charges and make sure you get the best outcome possible.  The firm represents clients in all phases of a criminal matter and we make sure you get the best possible outcome. Call us today at 717-823-0899.

Please feel free to contact The Shelton Firm today and request a free consultation.  The Shelton Firm is a criminal defense law firm representing clients in Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Chester County, York County, and Berks County.

What You Should Know About Getting A DUI In PA

What You Should Know About Getting A DUI In PA

Pennsylvania law states that a person should not operate a vehicle if they have consumed enough alcohol to:

  • Prevent them from safely operating the vehicle
  • Place their BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) above .08%
  • Have enough active ingredient or drug metabolite in their system to put them over the Pennsylvania Statutory limit.

Punishments increase in severity based on a person’s blood alcohol content. These punishments range from probation with no jail time up to a mandatory minimum of one year in state prison.

The law doesn’t allow for additional penalties for refusal of a blood test without a warrant, but doing so requires a mandatory 1-year license suspension by the Department of motor vehicles. This still applies if the police do not receive a warrant to draw your blood.

A warrant will be requested each time there is a case with a repeat DUI offender. In the case of a first offender, York police will be allowed to use discretion. They may request a warrant when they feel it is necessary or rely on the breathalyzer.

A breathalyzer can test only for alcohol consumption while a blood test can show both alcohol and drug consumption. This can become an issue when taking drugs such as marijuana into consideration. Marijuana can stay in your system and show on a blood test up to 30 after its use and long after the effects have worn off.

A person can be charged with obstruction of the administration of law if they refuse a blood test after a warrant has been issued. Many attorneys have questioned the validity of such a charge because the law is not completely clear on whether an obstruction charge is proper for failing to comply.

No Criminal proceeding is simple or straightforward.  You need an attorney present to ensure your rights are protected.  Contact The Shelton Firm today to handle your York DUI case.  Call us now at 717-823-0899 to schedule a consultation

At The Shelton Firm we offer legal services ranging from Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, Automobile Accidents, DUI, Divorce and Separation Issues, Expungements and Sealing of criminal records, and Traffic Ticket defense.   Our goal is to bring quality and affordable representation to the residents of Chester, York, Lebanon and Lancaster County