What if I request a hearing?
When you request a hearing, the magisterial district judge will send notices to you and the police of the date and time of the hearing. You have the right to be represented by your own lawyer at the hearing, but you do not have the right to represented by a public defender or a lawyer appointed at public expense if your conviction will only result in a fine.

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.

What if I fail to appear at the hearing?
Once you have requested a hearing, it will be held whether you are there or not, unless a continuance has been allowed by the magisterial district judge. If, in your absence, you are found guilty, the security money will go toward paying the fine and costs. If the security is not enough to cover the total amount, you will be ordered to pay an additional amount. If you are found not guilty, the security money will be returned to you.

Can I appeal?
If you are found guilty of or plead guilty to a summary offense, you can appeal to the common pleas court in the county where the magisterial district judge is located.

You must appeal within 30 days of the guilty finding or plea of guilt by filing a form obtained from 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.

Additional Information
Some information about handling summary charges can be obtained from the office of the magisterial district judge where the citation is filed; however, the office cannot provide legal advice concerning the case.

If you want further advice, you should contact a lawyer.