Philadelphia Criminal Justice System

Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and it is the most populous city in the state, and the fifth most populous city in the United States. It is located in the northeastern United States at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers.

It is located a hundred and fifty miles south of New York City and approximately a hundred and eighty miles north of Washington DC. It is surrounded by the Pennsylvania counties of Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties. Its general area and surroundings are home to more than six million people.


Philadelphia and its surrounding counties have many highways that are amongst the most travelled daily in the United States. They consist of Route 1 which is the Roosevelt Expressway, Route 13 which is the Bristol Pike, the Route 30 bypass, Route 63 Veterans Memorial Road, Route 76 the Pennsylvania Turnpike, local Route 76 the Schuylkill Expressway, Route 676 Central Philadelphia Vine Street Expressway, Interstate 95, Route 202, Route 476 also known as the Blue Route, and Route 611. Nearly one million vehicles travel these highways on a regular basis.

Local Laws in Philadelphia Criminal Cases

While generally, most criminal and traffic charges are consistent throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia as a city of the first class has additional charges in its local charter. For example, it is unlawful to carry a weapon or firearm on the streets of Philadelphia without a license whether concealed or held out in the open. Additionally, local charters deal with illegal gambling and laws prohibiting speakeasies which only appear under statutes in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Criminal Courts

If an individual is charged in Philadelphia, their criminal case will be heard in one of four main court locations. The first being the James A. Byrne United States Courthouse for federal crimes. This court is located at 6th and Market St. in the old city section of Philadelphia.

Second, the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center for adult criminal cases. This courthouse is located at 1301 Filbert St. in Philadelphia in the Center City area of the city.

Third, the new Family Court of Philadelphia building for all juvenile and dependency criminal cases. The courthouse is located at 1501 Arch St. in Philadelphia in the Center City area of the city.

Fourth, the Philadelphia Traffic Court for all initial traffic matters. This traffic court is located in 800 Spring Garden St. in Philadelphia in the Center City in Northern Liberties section of the city.

While these four main courthouses serve ninety nine percent of all cases, approximately one percent of cases are still heard at various police districts in the city for pre-trial programs. Among the locations are the 24th and 25th Police Districts located at 3901 Whitaker St. in the northern section of Philadelphia and the 35th Police District at Broad and Champlost Streets located in Northeast section of Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Traffic Court

All traffic matters at the initial level are handled at the location of the Philadelphia Traffic Court at 800 Spring Garden St. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Any appeals from traffic courts are handled at the Juanita Kidd Stout Criminal Justice Center located at 1301 Filbert St. in the Center City area of Philadelphia. However changes are currently being made to move all appeals back to the Philadelphia Traffic Court location.