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The following MDJ's perform weddings:
Brewbaker Day Dougherty ClementBeckley
The following MDJ's do not perform weddings:
MartinFegleyCohickAdamsSilcox (Hampden & Silver Spring residents only)
If you are involved in a dispute over a landlord/tenant issue, the time frame for hearings and appeals is different from those addressed in this pamphlet. You may also be brought before a district judge to answer a summary offense charge or a motor vehicle violation. The proceedings are similar but each has specific rules not covered in this pamphlet.
Non-traffic summary offenses include disorderly conduct, underage drinking, harassment, criminal mischief and first offense shoplifting.
In certain circumstances, a police officer may arrest someone, take him/her into custody and then before a magisterial district judge (formerly called a district justice). In that case, a hearing can be requested. The hearing may be held immediately or at a later time, for which the magisterial district judge may require security to guarantee that person’s appearance. A citation will still be prepared and given to that person.
The instructions on the citation must be followed. Generally, if you receive a citation, you must within 10 days either plead guilty and pay the fine, or plead not guilty and request a hearing. If you fail to respond to the citation as instructed, you can be arrested and brought to court and, in cases involving traffic citations, your license may be suspended.
The constable will return the warrant and the security money to the magisterial district judge, who will then send out a notice of the date and time of the hearing to you and the police if a not-guilty plea has been made. If you do not pay the security money to the constable, you can be arrested and taken before the magisterial district judge.
At the hearing, the police officer and other witnesses for the prosecution will testify, then you or your attorney may ask questions of the police or others who testify against you. You can then produce your own witnesses and testify yourself if you wish to do so. The police or district attorney can question you or any of your witnesses. The police can then introduce any additional evidence to contradict or disprove what you or your witnesses said. Finally, each side is given the opportunity to make any concluding statements or arguments to the magisterial district judge.
The magisterial district judge will then decide the case. If you are found not guilty, all security you posted will be returned to you. If you are found guilty, the security will go toward paying the amount of the fine and costs.
You must appeal within 30 days of the guilty finding or plea of guilt by filing a form obtained from the Clerk of Courts (Summary Appeal form and instructions - provided by the Clerk of Courts). When the case is tried in common pleas court, you will have a completely new trial.
The police generally do not have the right to appeal if you are found not guilty by the magisterial district judge.
If you want further advice about handling a summary charge, you should contact a lawyer. The immediate aid of a lawyer is advisable whenever a person is charged with a traffic summary offense. A conviction may result in the assignment of points or a suspension/ revocation of a driver’s license. A conviction on a driver’s record may also affect a driver’s insurance rates. The aid of an attorney is also warranted in many cases involving non-traffic summary offenses.
This material has been developed to inform and not to advise. The District Court and its staff are NOT permitted to give legal advice, so please do not ask. It is based on Pennsylvania law. The statements are general. IF IN DOUBT CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY.