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DAVID CLARK
Criminal Defense Attorney

Montgomery County Courts

There are multiple locations for court in Montgomery County. For the Magisterial Courts, people will go to local Magistrate Judges and Local Magistrate Courts for the first hearings in their case. Then their case reaches the Court of Common Pleas, which is the highest court where cases are usually disposed of or go to trial in Montgomery County. These hearings are in front of a Common Pleas Judge, the highest level besides the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

If you have been accused of a criminal offense, an experienced attorney could help your case. They could walk you through the court system and help you fight the charges. It is best to speak to a diligent defense attorney to learn more about Montgomery County courts.

Understanding the Montgomery County Court System

The Montgomery County courts are divided into Magistrates and Common Pleas Courts. The Magistrate Courts are spread around the county where people go for their first court hearing in front of a Magistrate Judge. For a misdemeanor case, their preliminary arraignment will occur at these courts with a Magistrate Judge. For a felony case, their preliminary hearing will occur at the Magistrate Courthouse.

Then their case would go to the next highest level, to the Common Pleas Court. That is the final stop for trials, motions, and all other statuses of cases. Most cases end at this level. In the event an appeal is taken, it will go to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

What Happens in Court?

People who have a matter pending in the Montgomery County court system should know time is of the essence in preparing to defend a criminal case. What happens to their case can be affected by which courtroom they end up with, or which judge they end up in front of, and each judge will handle the scheduling differently. Cases will usually be listed for a pre-trial scheduling date, and after that, their next court date will be for trial. Other judges in courtrooms will give multiple pretrial dates until it is time for trial.

Each courtroom might have its own peculiarities about how it is operated. They should ask their attorney what to expect from each courtroom. They do not want to necessarily bring all of their defense witnesses to the wrong court date and the wrong courtroom until it is time for trial. Similarly, they do not want to go to what they think is a status hearing date and find out that, today, it is actually listed for trial.

They want to be in close communication with their attorney, so they are fully aware of the changing courtrooms and what the changing court dates mean. In most cases, it will take several court dates to come to a resolution of their matter. Some are resolved as early as the preliminary hearing in the Magistrate Court, or they will go to the common pleas court and be listed there until they reach a resolution.

Courtroom Behavior

In a Montgomery Courthouse or any courthouse, people should know that the court staff and the judge is always watching. They are always aware of what is going on in that room. When a particular case is called, and that person comes up in front of the judge, the judge might remember them from earlier in a positive way, or will they be remembered in a negative way.

Judges are supposed to be impartial, and the court staff is supposed to treat everyone the same and fairly, but a small first impression can be beneficial. An advantage could be gained by dressing appropriately, acting politely, and treating everyone with respect from the moment they enter the courthouse. They never know who will end up in their room with them, either hearing their case or working on their case.

The best first impression is so important. There are many people involved in every case, and everyone in that courthouse should be treated with complete respect.

Things to Avoid When Going to Court

Things to avoid when going to a Montgomery County court are:

  • Scheduling other things the same day as court
  • Do not dress too casually
  • Never miss court
  • Never be late for court
  • Treat every court date as a serious appointment

If a person is late for a court hearing, the judge may issue a bench warrant. They might not list it by the time they get there and have them wait for a bench warrant hearing. The case has already been given a bench warrant, and they could be subject to contempt of court by failing to appear.

They want to be on time and ready to go before the judge comes out to the bench. They want to avoid scheduling other things the same day as their court date because no one knows how long it is going to take. Felonies and misdemeanors will all be in the same room.

How a Criminal Defense Attorney Could Help

If you have been accused of a criminal offense, it is best to seek help from a knowledgeable defense attorney. They could walk you through the Montgomery County court system process and could help you build a defense.

Schedule a consultation today to learn about how a defense lawyer could help your case.