Legal Updates

Tracking a Criminal Case in Philadelphia County

Municipal Court has trial jurisdiction of all misdemeanor offenses (M1, M2, and M3) where the maximum prison sentence is not greater than five (5) years and Summary offenses.  Municipal Court has Preliminary Hearing jurisdiction for felony offenses.  Municipal Court does not have trial jurisdiction of domestic abuse misdemeanor offenses where a charge of contempt of a protection from abuse (PFA) is also alleged.  These trials are heard before a Family Court judge.  Municipal Court also does not have trial jurisdiction of Traffic Court offenses.  These offenses are heard in Traffic Court before a Traffic Court judge.

All defendants charged with a misdemeanor and/or felony case have  a Preliminary Arraignment before a Philadelphia Magistrate.  If the defendant is charged with misdemeanor cases, the defendant will get a date in a Municipal Court trial room.  If a defendant is convicted after a Municipal Court trial, the defendant has an absolute right to appeal and have a brand new second trial in the Common Pleas Court on those charges on which he was s(he) was convicted.

If the defendant is charged with a felony offense(s) and/or a felony offense with misdemeanor offenses, arising from the same criminal transaction, the defendant’s case will receive a date for Preliminary Hearing within 14 to 21 days from preliminary arraignment.  If at the Preliminary Hearing the Commonwealth establishes a prima facie case was established, the charges will be “held for court” to await the filing of a Bill of Information by the District Attorney’s Office.  The defendant will be listed for an arraignment in the Court of Common Pleas within three weeks.  If at the preliminary hearing, the Commonwealth fails to establish a prima facie case on the felony charge, the case will likely be “remanded” to Municipal Court on the misdemeanor charges.  If you have questions, please call the Law Office of Mark D. Copoulos.  We offer free consultations and can be reached by telephone at 267-535-9776.

Source: PBI Criminal Practice in Philadelphia Municipal Court