The Magisterial District Judges also have criminal jurisdiction over felonies and misdemeanors and violations of the fish, game and dog laws. The Magisterial District Judge determines, in criminal cases, if probable cause exists for the issuance of search warrants and arrest warrants. The Judge will also conduct preliminary arraignments (the first step in the court process after arrest where a defendant receives charges, bail is determined and a date is set for a preliminary hearing) and hold preliminary hearings. Preliminary hearings are the court proceedings wherein the Judge determines whether a prima facie case (a crime has been committed and the defendant likely committed the crime) has been shown by the prosecutor.
Additionally, Magisterial District Judges are responsible for issuing Emergency Protection From Abuse Orders (PFAs) and may perform weddings. Your local Judge will often be the only exposure the average citizen has with the court system outside of jury duty. While not always a pleasant experience, hopefully you will walk away feeling that you were treated fairly and with respect.
PLEASE NOTE: THE STAFF OF THIS OFFICE IS NOT PERMITTED TO AND WILL NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE