Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym 

FORMER ALLEGHENY COUNTY DUI PROSECUTOR!

Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym
The Law Offices of George Heym 564 Forbes Ave, Suite 810 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 412-521-2628

The Preliminary Hearing

Q.

What is the purpose of the Preliminary Hearing?

A. I will start with an explanation of what a Preliminary Hearing is not. It is not a trial and it will not be decided whether you are guilty or not guilty at the Preliminary Hearing.  Further, except in very rare circumstances you will not be able to negotiate a plea agreement with the District Attorney at the Preliminary Hearing.  In fact, in many Pennsylvania counties, a representative of the District Attorney’s Office does not even attend Preliminary Hearings. The Preliminary Hearing is basically a procedure to protect against false arrest. The Commonwealth must establish that there is enough evidence to send the case to the next level in the criminal justice system (Trial Court). The legal standard that the Commonwealth must meet is “Prima Facia” – as opposed to the burden of proof at trial which is the well known “beyond a reasonable doubt”. In layman’s terms, Prima Facia means that the Commonwealth must provide evidence to establish that it is more likely than not that a crime was committed and that it is more likely than not that you are the person who committed that crime – this is a very low burden of proof. Once the Magistrate finds that the Commonwealth has established this he/she must “hold the case for court” – sending it to the trial court level for disposition. From the perspective of the defense, the Preliminary Hearing is important for gathering information. It is the first opportunity for the Defense Attorney to hear what the Police Officer alleges happened and see blood or breath test results.  This information can then be used to prepare for trial, seek admittance to special programs or negotiate the best plea agreement possible.

Q.

What will happen if my BAC results are less than .08%?

A. This does not necessarily mean that the charges are automatically withdrawn.  Technically, it is still possible for the Commonwealth to proceed with the DUI charges under the “General Impairment” portion of the DUI statute. However, an experienced DUI Lawyer will very often be able to get the Commonwealth to withdraw the charges or convince the Magistrate to dismiss them.

Q.

At the Preliminary Hearing will I be able to plead guilty to a lesser offense

like reckless driving?

A. Ten to fifteen years ago, this kind of outcome was very common. However, these days it is very rare as most District Attorney’s Offices have specifically forbidden this practice. However, one exception might be the above-mentioned circumstance where the BAC is slightly under the legal limit. In that circumstance you might be able to plead guilty to only one of the underlying traffic offenses.
Pittsburgh DUI Preliminary Hearing T.O.C. next page prev page
Call or Text me on my Cell Phone 24/7 at 412-216-4984
Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym accepts all credit cards
Free DUI Consultation
The Law Offices of George Heym 564 Forbes Ave, Suite 810

The Preliminary Hearing

Q.

What is the purpose of the

Preliminary Hearing?

A. I will start with an explanation of what a Preliminary Hearing is not. It is not a trial and it will not be decided whether you are guilty or not guilty at the Preliminary Hearing.  Further, except in very rare circumstances you will not be able to negotiate a plea agreement with the District Attorney at the Preliminary Hearing.  In fact, in many Pennsylvania counties, a representative of the District Attorney’s Office does not even attend Preliminary Hearings. The Preliminary Hearing is basically a procedure to protect against false arrest. The Commonwealth must establish that there is enough evidence to send the case to the next level in the criminal justice system (Trial Court). The legal standard that the Commonwealth must meet is “Prima Facia” – as opposed to the burden of proof at trial which is the well known “beyond a reasonable doubt”. In layman’s terms, Prima Facia means that the Commonwealth must provide evidence to establish that it is more likely than not that a crime was committed and that it is more likely than not that you are the person who committed that crime – this is a very low burden of proof. Once the Magistrate finds that the Commonwealth has established this he/she must “hold the case for court” – sending it to the trial court level for disposition. From the perspective of the defense, the Preliminary Hearing is important for gathering information. It is the first opportunity for the Defense Attorney to hear what the Police Officer alleges happened and see blood or breath test results.  This information can then be used to prepare for trial, seek admittance to special programs or negotiate the best plea agreement possible.

Q.

What will happen if my BAC

results are less than .08%?

A. This does not necessarily mean that the charges are automatically withdrawn.  Technically, it is still possible for the Commonwealth to proceed with the DUI charges under the “General Impairment” portion of the DUI statute. However, an experienced DUI Lawyer will very often be able to get the Commonwealth to withdraw the charges or convince the Magistrate to dismiss them.

Q.

At the Preliminary Hearing will I

be able to plead guilty to a lesser

offense like reckless driving?

A. Ten to fifteen years ago, this kind of outcome was very common. However, these days it is very rare as most District Attorney’s Offices have specifically forbidden this practice. However, one exception might be the above-mentioned circumstance where the BAC is slightly under the legal limit. In that circumstance you might be able to plead guilty to only one of the underlying traffic offenses.
Pittsburgh DUI Preliminary Hearing T.O.C. next page prev page
For a Free DUI Consultation Call or Text me on my Cell Phone 24/7  412-216-4984
Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym accepts all credit cards
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Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer George Heym 

Former DUI Prosecutor!

Exclusively Defending DUI Cases!