As a Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney, I represent Criminal Defendants in Western Pennsylvania including Pittsburgh, Westmoreland, Beaver, Butler, and Washington.
Any legal issues that involve the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Police are most likely Criminal issues. Criminal charges in Pittsburgh, and the surrounding areas, may include some of the following:
How Does the Criminal Process Start?
The criminal process in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania really depends on your alleged crime. Generally speaking, the process begins with the involvement of the police. Once the police are involved, they will decide whether or not to press criminal charges. If they decide to press charges, you will either be issued a citation, mailed a summons, or arrested. At this point, you may need an attorney at a bail hearing or to make a motion for your release from jail.
From there, you will be given a preliminary hearing date. A preliminary hearing in Pennsylvania is where you will have your first opportunity to fight the charges brought against you. Do not take this opportunity lightly. If you fail to show up at your preliminary hearing, the magistrate will issue a warrant for your arrest.
What Happens After a Preliminary Hearing?
Assuming your case is not disposed of at the preliminary hearing, you will receive a date for your formal arraignment. In Pennsylvania, once the Magistrate determines that there is probable cause to hold you for court at your preliminary hearing, the prosecutor will formally charge you with crimes. At formal arraignment, you will find out what those charges are and have your first opportunity to request the discovery (or evidence) against you.
When Do You Go To Trial?
After your formal arraignment, you will receive dates for pretrial conferences and pretrial motions. It is during these proceedings that your trial date will be determined.
All-in-all, the process may take months or up to a year or more to complete.
When Should You Get an Attorney?
One of the largest issues that face criminal defense attorneys and criminal defendants in Pittsburgh, and the surrounding counties, is coming into the process too late. While the procedure outlined briefly above is a general overview, there are multiple places throughout that procedure where an experienced criminal defense attorney may advise you on a different course. For example, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to fight your case at the preliminary hearing and have the case dismissed. If you waited to hire an attorney until after the preliminary hearing, you will miss that opportunity.
It is important to hire an attorney with experience. At Morrow and Artim, P.C., we have successfully represented criminal defendants at all stages in the process and charged with all types of crimes. We provide legal representation for clients at bail hearings, preliminary hearings, ARD, Phoenix Court, and Trials.
If you have been charged with a crime in Pittsburgh, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland, Washington, or anywhere else in Western Pennsylvania, call (412) 209-0657 and ask for Matthew Becker. We will begin to defend your rights immediately and fight until the end.