Under the Pennsylvania Rules of Procedure, summary proceedings are not technically criminal court cases. However, if you have been charged with a summary offense, it is still a serious violation carrying a maximum penalty of 90 days imprisonment and a maximum fine of $300. Call Seelinger Law now for your free initial consultation.
Some examples of summary offenses include most driving offenses such as reckless driving or driving with a suspended license, also disorderly conduct, and harassment. Often times a summary action commences when the police issue a citation to the offender; however, there are circumstances when police are authorized to commence a summary action with an arrest.
Once you have been served with a citation, you should enter a plea of not guilty along with the prescribed fine indicating that you will be contesting the charge at a summary proceeding. You must respond to the citation in writing within ten days of receipt and you should include the money indicated as collateral for your appearance. If you win your case at the hearing then the money will be returned to you. If the citation does not include a specific amount of collateral, you should send fifty dollars as collateral. If you choose to do nothing and do not respond to the citation then your failure to respond may result in a warrant for your arrest.
Once the magistrate receives your not guilty plea and collateral, the magistrate will notify you and the law enforcement officer as to the time and date of the summary hearing. You should be warned that a failure to show for the hearing results is an automatic guilty determination and you will lose the money that you had sent along with your plea.
Summary proceedings are held in front of a district judge or municipal court judge instead of a Common Pleas judge and you can expect that the police officer who issued the citation will be present; however, a prosecutor may or may not be present at the summary proceeding.
Here at Seelinger Law I will take the time to analyze the facts, prepare you as well as your case for the events at the summary proceeding. If you have already had a summary trial and been found guilty, you have thirty days to appeal your case to the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.
Seelinger Law has assisted many clients in successfully appealing guilty summary case verdicts and sentences and we can assist you too.
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