PENNSYLVANIA
CRIMINAL PROCESS


How will my criminal case progress?
Preliminary Hearing
This is your first chance to examine the evidence against you, call witness and cross examine the State’s witness. In short, this is your opportunity to narrow the issues and test the Commonwealth’s Case. The District Attorney’s office will have to prove that they have enough of a case against you to proceed to trial. The State does not have to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt at this point.

Arraignment
This is a meeting in which you are formally given the charges against you, and a pretrial conference is scheduled. From this date forward many important deadlines start to run.

Pre-trial Conference
In this meeting your attorney and the District Attorney will attempt to resolve discovery issues as well as any other issues as well as schedule your case for either a jury or non-jury trial.

Suppression Hearing
This is a Hearing in which your attorney will seek to have evidence, derived from an unconstitutional stop suppressed. (If successful that evidence will not be able to be used against you at trial.)

Trial
This is your opportunity to make the Commonwealth prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sentencing Hearing
This is the time that you can call witness, submit a pre-sentence investigation, and allow the Judge to understand you as a person. This will allow the Judge in some cases to deviate from a standard sentence and/or sentence to intermediate restrictive punishment, and/or probation.