Unless there is reason to believe that the accused will not respond to a summons, an issuing authority must issue a summons in cases where the most serious offense charged is a misdemeanor of the second degree or a misdemeanor of the first degree under the DUI statute.  In most situations however, the issuing authority has the discretion to choose whether to issue a summons or an arrest warrant.  When a summons is issued, the accused receives both a copy of the criminal complaint and a copy of the summons compelling him to appear for a preliminary hearing in front of the magistrate.  The date of the preliminary hearing must be at least twenty days after the mailing of the summons.  The summons shall notify the accused of their right to retain counsel of their choosing, that bail will be set at the preliminary hearing, and that their presence at the preliminary hearing is required and their absence will result in the issuance of a bench warrant for their arrest.  Generally in practice, issuing authorities use summons rather than arrest warrants in all but the most serious of offenses.


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Erie

5148 Peach Street, Suite 330
Erie, PA 16509
814.824.6670

Meadville

Parkside Commons
847 N. Main Street, Suite 003B
Meadville, PA 16335
814.547.5920

Pittsburgh

4981 McKnight Road #101548
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
412.532.8222

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