What Happens After I have Been Charged With A Crime?

October 8, 2021 / 8:56 am

People charged with a crime will have one of two experiences. They are either placed in handcuffs and taken before a Judge within a few hours of the event and told what they are being charged with or they are released and eventually received papers in the mail informing them of the charges that have been filed. The question then becomes, "What's next?"

In Pennsylvania the first step is the Preliminary Hearing. By statute the hearing must be scheduled within 10 days. However, most of the parties (Police, Attorneys, Judge, Defendant) are not ready in that amount of time so the hearing is usually rescheduled. At the Preliminary Hearing the Commonwealth has to demonstrate that they have enough evidence to go to trial. The Commonwealth has the burden of proof, the defendant does not. It is rare that a defendant will even speak at a Preliminary Hearing. The hearing is usually taken up with the Commonwealth calling witnesses who will testify to what they saw or know. When the hearing is complete the Judge will approve for trial those charges for which they believe the Commonwealth has demonstrated there is sufficient evidence. The Judge may dismiss those charges for which there is little or insufficient evidence. If you are represented by an attorney that attorney can cross examine the witnesses in an attempt to obtain more information for your defense or to show insufficient evidence.

The attorneys at Penglase and Benson are experienced in criminal representation. Craig Penglase and John Benson are each former prosecutors who have attended thousands of preliminary hearings. Their experience can assist you in your case.