Criminal Procedure

Arrested? Charged with a Crime? LET ME FIGHT FOR YOU!

Pennsylvania Criminal Justice Flow Chart

  • Arrest Made (accused brought to county jail)
  • Probable cause of involvement in commission of crime
  • Criminal Complaint Filed
  • Arrest warrant issued
  • Summons issued in certain cases
  • Preliminary Arraignment (takes place before District Justice or Magistrate)
  • Within 72 hours of arrest
  • Accused receives written charges
  • Bond is set
  • Preliminary Hearing is scheduled
  • Preliminary Hearing(within 3-10 days of arrest; may be postponed)
  • Not a guilt or innocence proceeding
  • To determine whether there is sufficient evidence to hold the case for trial before a judge or jury in the Court of Common Pleas
  • May result in reduction of charges, dismissal of case, or assessment of fines
  • A motion for bond reduction may be made at this proceeding
  • Accused is presumed innocent and usually does not testify
  • Formal Arraignment (A “calendar control” or “paper” date)
  • Accused receives final charges in writing
  • Accused enters plea of guilty or not-guilty
  • Accused requests jury or non-jury trial
  • Defense Counsel must enter “Appearance” as Counsel of Record
  • Case is assigned to a judge
  • Establishes time periods for filing of Discovery, Bill of Particulars, and Pre-Trial Motions
  • Pre-Trial Conference is scheduled
  • Pre-Trial Conference (A “calendar control” or “paper” date)
  • Informs judge of how case will proceed (jury trial, non-jury trial, pre-trial motions, plea)
  • Trial or plea date is scheduled
  • Trial (Jury or Non-Jury)
  • If incarcerated, accused must be brought to trial within 180 days of filing of Criminal Complaint unless there is excludable time charged to accused
  • If on bond, accused must be brought to trial within 365 days of filing of Criminal Complaint unless there is excludable time charged to accused
  • Accused may present a defense to charges in a suppression hearing, jury or non-jury trial.
  • If acquitted on all charges the case concludes
  • If accused is convicted of all or any charge by entry or plea or guilty verdict by judge or jury the case proceeds to sentencing stage
  • Sentencing
  • Upon conviction, and depending upon the severity of the crime(s), the case may proceed immediately to sentencing or a Pre-Sentence Investigation is ordered to assist the judge in imposing sentence.
  • Depending upon the crime(s) involved, sentencing may involve total confinement in a state or county facility, alternative housing, home detention, probation, payment of fines and restitution.
  • Post-Sentence Motions must be filed (if at all) in writing and within 10 days
  • An appeal may be filed (if at all) in writing within 30 days of the denial of Post-Sentence Motions or, if no Post-Sentence Motions are filed, within 30 days of sentencing.

Contact a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

Call (412) 281-3380
For a lawyer who knows how to seek the best possible solution to each client’s unique legal problems, contact our Pittsburgh law firm, The Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson.