After being arrested for a DUI, the first thing that you’ll get is two copies of summons in the mail. They’ll get one via regular mail and one via certified mail. These summons include the next court date, which is typically your preliminary hearing or your arraignment date. It also includes the list of charges that have been filed against you by the police officer, and it should include what’s known as an affidavit of probable cause, which is usually several paragraphs of the police officer detailing what occurred and why they believe they have probable cause to arrest you for the DUI. That’s what happens in a typical case. In some cases, such as if an individual is brought in for testing, if the officer knows this individual, if they have been involved in DUIs before, or if other circumstances are involved such as the officers claim of resisting arrest or something of that manner, the police may actually attempt to arraign you the night you are pulled over.
What arraignment is in this case, is that they will contact a magistrate, and the magistrate will determine whether or not there is some type of proof of the charges. This is not to be confused with determining if you are guilty or innocent, they will only identify if there is any proof of the charges happening here. Arraignment is at the magistrate level; its main purpose it to set your bail. The police officer could be asking for some type of bail to be set on you to determine whether or not you can be released back out into the public or if they’re going to put you in jail. If your bail is set at some type of monetary value, then you would have to post that bail before you’d be able to be released from whichever correctional facility they have you at for the arraignment. So if it’s some type of ROR bail, Released on your Own Recognizance, or something unsecured, you would be free to go.
If it’s some type of monetary value, then that must be placed with the court before you can be released back out into the public. Then you would get your paperwork for the preliminary hearings. The arraignment and preliminary hearings happen at the same time; only in certain cases do they do the arraignment merely upon arrest or they do the arraignment prior to the preliminary hearing.
Are There Different Types OF DUI Charges In Pennsylvania?
Yes, Pennsylvania has multiple DUI charges. There are alcohol based offenses and there are drug based offenses. As far as the alcohol based offenses go, there are different tiers of offense which is determined based on your blood alcohol level. There is also specific offense for a minor, for a commercial vehicle, license holder, and for flying an airplane as well as for boating. So there are many DUIs that you could actually be charged with in the state of Pennsylvania just for alcohol. The specific statute involved here is Title 75, section 3802. That outlines all the different DUI alcohol based charges. An example is “incapable of safe driving” (which does not necessarily need an alcohol level in your system, it’s something in your system that caused you to be incapable of driving safely). Then they have a BAC level of 0.08 to 0.1, the next tier up is 0.1 to 0.16, and the highest tier is 0.16 and above. Those are your main DUIs.
Then you have a DUI for what they refer to as a minor, even though it’s anyone under the age of 21. Their DUIs start when they have a blood alcohol level of 0.02 and above. The commercial vehicle or the commercial license individual, if they are in a commercial vehicle, a BAC of 0.04 and above would constitute a DUI and if you are in a school bus for a school van, then your BAC level DUI starts at 0.02 and above. For airplanes flying under the influence, the BAC level is 0.04 and above and of course there will be multiple federal and state regulation violations here as well that you would more than likely end up being charged by the federal government and be in federal court if you are found under the influence in an airplane.
Another one that we see commonly especially in the summertime is boating under the influence. It has a BAC level of 0.08 and above, so there is just one tier for boating. Sometimes, people go out on the lakes and then get a boating under the influence charge. Then you have drug based offenses. There are a total of four and these are all also under Title 75, section 3802. These are all under section d. The first tier, we’ll call them d(i), the section is d(i) but it’s broken into three different subsections which are delineated by the number of highs. So d(i) is for schedule 1 drugs, D(ii) is for schedule 4 and schedule 3 drugs, and then section d(iii) are for the metabolites of the schedule 1, 2 or 3 drugs. Section d(ii) is for incapable of driving due to drugs or a combination of drugs and alcohol, section d(ii) is for a combination of just drugs, d(iii) is for drugs and alcohol combination, and d(iv) is for under the influence of a solvent or noxious substance which is pretty rare.
Typically with these, you see subsection in d(i) and then either a d(ii) or d(iii) to go with it for that type of combination. Some additional issues that you can find under the drug DUI statute, obviously if you are doing some type of illegal drugs which are your typical schedule 1 drug, if you have any of those drugs on you, you could be facing additional charges for a possession of those drugs. If you are using some type of non-prescription drugs, obviously those are illegal to have on you and again, you can face additional charges. If you have prescribed drugs on you that obviously are not yours, you could face charges for those as well. Even with prescribed drugs, if you are taking prescribed drugs, you can get a DUI even if you are legally taking them for the purposes of what they’re intended to be used for.
Some of those drugs can cause drowsiness and other effects and you can be charged with a DUI even though you are taking a totally legal substance because you have a valid prescription for it. Therefore, you have to be very careful with driving while using prescription drugs.
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