Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Summary Trial Facts & Summary Trial FAQ's

What is a Summary Trial?

A Summary Trial is held for Summary offenses such as:
Where does a Summary Trial take place?

A Summary Trial takes place in a court-room before the local Magisterial District Judge.

Who attends a Summary Trial?
  • District Judge
  • Defendant & Defendant's Attorney
  • Commonwealth
    • Police Officer
    • District Attorney (occasionally)
  • Witnesses 
Are witnesses allowed to testify at a Summary Trial?

Yes, witnesses are permitted to testify to what they observed. Both Defense and Commonwealth may call witnesses to testify.

What is the Procedure for a Summary Trial?

A Summary Trial begins with all parties expected to testify being sworn to tell the truth. 

The Commonwealth presents their case first.  They must prove each element of the offense that the Defendant allegedly committed.  They may call witnesses to testify to what they observed.

The Defense then presents their case offering any defenses, explanations, and testimony that they may have.  Like the Commonwealth, they may also call witnesses to testify as to what they observed.

Once all concluding argument is heard, the District Judge will announce a decision and the Summary Trial is concluded.

Can Summary Trial decisions be appealed?

Yes, an appeal must be done within thirty (30) days from the date of the District Judge's original decision.  In most counties, this is done at the County Clerk of Court's Office or Department of Court Records.  You will be required to pay an appeal fee.