The Criminal Prosecution Division of the Office of the District Attorney is responsible for representing the Commonwealth during all criminal prosecutions in Monroe County courts, including preliminary hearings, pretrial motions, trials and appeals.

While each case is different, the general path which all criminal prosecutions follow is outlined below.

  1. Arrest Made (accused taken into custody by police) / Charges Filed (cases proceeding directly by summons or warrant)
    • Probable cause of involvement in commission of crime
    • Criminal Complaint Filed
    • Arrest warrant issued
    • Summons issued in certain cases
  2. Preliminary Arraignment (takes place before the Magisterial District Judge )
    • Within 72 hours of arrest
    • Accused receives written charges
    • Bond is set
    • Preliminary Hearing is scheduled
  3. Preliminary Hearing(no later than 14 days if in custody or 21 days if not in custody; may be continued)
    • 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.