If you have a case set in the District Court in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, you may be concerned or even anxious about what you could be facing. You may have a great many questions about where you are headed, and what the court's role is in your case.
With the help of experienced criminal defense attorney David J. Cohen at your side every step of the way, you can know that you are represented by an attorney who is very familiar with the Court, its staff, and how it will affect you.
Montgomery County Magisterial District Court
The Montgomery County Magisterial District Court is located at:
1 Security Plaza, Suite 101
Pottstown, PA 19464-5499
The Court itself can be contacted at:
- Phone: (610) 326-9271
- Fax: (610) 326-4179
The judge for the Montgomery County Magisterial District Court is:
- Magisterial District Judge Scott T. Palladino
Jurisdiction of a Magisterial Court in Pennsylvania
Magisterial courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, meaning the may only hear certain types of cases.
The Montgomery County Magisterial District Court may hear matters including:
- criminal preliminary arraignments;
- preliminary hearings;
- summary criminal offenses;
- traffic offenses;
- municipal code violations;
- landlord and tenant lawsuits; and
- civil claims where damages do not exceed $12,000.
Each of these matters are heard in the Pottstown District Court, and in each having an experienced attorney at your side will best protect your constitutional rights.
1. Criminal Preliminary Arraignments
A preliminary arraignment generally occurs within 6 hours after an arrest. At this arraignment, the charges are read to the defendant.
The defendant is given a copy of the criminal complaint and is advised of his or her rights, including the right to be represented by an attorney. A date for the preliminary hearing is set and the defendant is notified of the date.
2. Preliminary Hearings
After a person is arrested and charged with a crime in Pennsylvania the preliminary hearing will occur at the magisterial court. A neutral magistrate will be a judge in determining whether probable cause exists to allow for restraint of a defendant's liberty. It is held within 3 to 10 days of the preliminary arraignment.
3. Summary Criminal Offenses
A summary offense is the most minor type of criminal offense in Pennsylvania. These can include:
- disorderly conduct charges;
- loitering charges;
- underage drinking;
- public urination;
- service theft (less than $50.00);
- opening fire hydrants;
- defiant trespassing;
- harassment charges; and
- low level retail theft (under $150.00).
A conviction for summary offenses usually results in a fine. At the maximum, a person faces a penalty of 90 days in jail and a fine of not more than $300.
4. Traffic Offenses
Low level traffic offenses that do not constitute a separate higher level crime are heard at the magisterial court level. While many people think of traffic offenses as a nuisance, that can be taken care of with a quick payment of a fine, the charges can be more serious, and may require a full and vigorous defense to protect your rights, including your right to keep your driver's license.
5. Municipal Code Violations
Violations of a municipal code will be heard in Pottstown District Court. The municipal code contains certain laws and regulations set by individual cities, towns, and villages. They are in addition to the laws set by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Violating these codes does not rise to the level of a felony in and of itself, and so these violations will be heard in the magisterial court.
6. Landlord and Tenant Lawsuits
Disputes between landlords and tenants are held before the judge of the magisterial court. Landlord and tenant disputes typically include:
- eviction actions;
- civil cases for damages to a property;
- violation of tenant rights lawsuits; and
- other landlord and tenant cases.
7. Civil Claims Where Damages Do Not Exceed $12,000
A civil lawsuit is a claim that is not a criminal case. These cases are not about guilt, innocence, or whether someone should go to jail or prison.
Civil claims are lawsuits that are generally for money damages. If the plaintiff (the person filing the lawsuit) asks for an amount from the defendant (the person being sued) and that amount is $12,000 or less, the case can be heard in front of the Montgomery County Magisterial Court.
Why You Should Have an Attorney
It may seem easy to simply plead guilty to a summary offense, or to a traffic offense. However, a decision to go unrepresented means you will be expected to act with the knowledge of an actual attorney, but without the benefit of years of experience in defending criminal cases.
An experienced Pennsylvania attorney can defend your case, help you make appropriate decisions, and present the best defense possible.
Consult an Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney
If your case will be heard in the Pottstown District Court, you need an experienced attorney who can represent you and protect your constitutional rights.