“The phoenix hope can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune’s spite: revive from ashes and rise.”
– Miguel de Cervantes
You might hear Phoenix Court referred to as an “expedited criminal docket,” and some people might even call it by its predecessor’s name, PDQ. Phoenix Court is a type of deferment program, which is essentially an agreement between the offender and the prosecutor for a reduced or dismissed charge.
There are many benefits of participating in Phoenix Court. Your case will be resolved sooner, you’ll likely receive a shorter sentence, and may even have one or more of your charges dropped.
Phoenix Court may be a good option if you’re a repeat DUI offender. However, it’s important to understand that this program is meant to entice offenders to plead guilty.
By pleading guilty, you’re eliminating the need for court resources and future trial dates, freeing up the prosecutor’s time and cutting expenses.
For more information and to find out if Phoenix Court in Allegheny County is the right fit for you, call our Pennsylvania DUI attorney at (215) 977-4183.
Who qualifies for Phoenix Court?
Repeat offenders on their third, fourth, or subsequent DUI are eligible for Phoenix Court. First-time offenders are ineligible to participate.
The first time someone is charged with DUI, they may be able to go through the Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) program to have their case dismissed and the charge removed from their record.
But if you are one of the thousands of Pennsylvanians who receive multiple DUIs, you may be eligible to participate in Phoenix Court and avoid going to jail.
Important note: There’s no way to know for sure whether you’ll qualify for Phoenix Court without the help of an experienced attorney. The Pennsylvania prosecutor’s office has not published official guidelines. Speak with an attorney to find out if Phoenix Court is an option for you.
Call Pennsylvania DUI lawyer Steven E. Kellis for more information.
Benefits of Phoenix Court
The main benefit of Phoenix Court is that offenders face significantly shorter jail sentences. Your case will also be resolved much sooner in the criminal process, and the charges against you may even be dropped completely.
In other words, you’ll receive the best possible plea agreement in exchange for pleading guilty and going to court for DUI.
Those are impressive benefits, but it’s important to understand that they come at a cost. To reap the benefits of the Phoenix Court process, you must plead guilty to your charge at the initial Phoenix Docket Conference.
By pleading guilty, you forfeit the right to a trial, and the charge will stay on your record.
You should consider all of the benefits and downsides before deciding to participate in Pennsylvania Phoenix Court.
Phoenix Court Process
The specific process will vary slightly from what’s listed below, but you can expect Phoenix Court to follow this general structure.
- If your case is assigned to the Phoenix Court docket, you’ll be notified at the formal arraignment (the first court date after the preliminary hearing).
- At the formal arraignment, you’ll receive a written plea offer from the District Attorney’s office along with a subpoena (order to appear in court) for the Phoenix Docket conference, which will likely be your only encounter with the judge. The plea offer will likely contain one of two choices: house arrest, classes, and fines, or jail time, classes, and fines. Remember, through Phoenix Court, even if you receive a jail sentence, it’ll be significantly less than what you would receive if you cannot participate in Phoenix Court.
- You’ll have to choose one of two options at the Phoenix Docket Conference: to plead guilty and accept either the terms of the written plea offer or negotiated terms, or to plead not guilty and schedule the case for trial. If you plead guilty, the judge will walk you through the terms of the agreement and sentence you that day. Remember, the sentence will be less than what you would be given with no Phoenix Agreement.
Questions about Phoenix Court in Allegheny County? Call Steven Kellis.
If you were recently charged with your second, third, or subsequent DUI in Pennsylvania, Phoenix Court may be the best option to have your charges dropped and penalties reduced. However, not everyone is eligible to participate in the program, even if they are a repeat offender.
Experienced DUI attorney Steven E. Kellis will help clear up any confusion about the Phoenix Court process. He’ll work to obtain the best outcome in your case. Call (215) 977-4183 today.