Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Grand Jury?

A group of citizens who decide whether the prosecutor has enough evidence to pursue felony (and perhaps also misdemeanor) charges against a person.

I received a bad check and wish to prosecute. What is the correct procedure to follow?

Contact the Bad Check Unit.

What should I do when a crime happens? How does my case then get to your office for prosecution?

First, call the police or sheriff’s office and make a full report. In most cases, a law enforcement officer will meet with you to obtain important details. The relevant law enforcement agencies then refer the results of their investigations to the District Attorney’s Office.

What is a Subpoena?

If you are a victim of a crime or a witness to a crime, you will receive a subpoena to appear in court. A subpoena is a court order directing you to appear as a witness. You may not ignore such an order. You are required to appear at the time and place stated on the subpoena. You may receive your subpoena by mail or in person. At times your subpoena will be updated by telephone. Please bring your subpoena to court with you. Be sure to save your subpoena as it contains important information about your case.

What kind of proceedings are there?

Preliminary Hearing:
The preliminary hearing is scheduled in all felony cases within three to ten days of defendant’s arrest. At this hearing the Commonwealth must establish that there is enough evidence to hold the defendant for trial in Common Pleas Court. If the case is “held for court” you will be required to appear at the trial in the Criminal Justice Center.

At arraignment the defendant is formally charged with the crime and given a date for trial. Arraignments are held approximately two (2) weeks after the preliminary hearing. No witnesses appear at this listing of the case. After the arraignment, witnesses are notified by mail of the trial date.

At the trial in Common Pleas Court the Assistant District Attorney will present all the facts of the case to the judge and/or the jury. This will include testimony from the victim, witnesses and the police officers involved in the case. At this time the judge and/or jury will decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent, based on the testimony heard that day. If that case is a misdemeanor, your first appearance will be for the actual trial in Municipal Court.

In misdemeanor cases, the defendant is usually sentenced on the same day as the trial. In felony cases, the sentencing is usually set for a later date.