Chester County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Chester County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Chester County.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Chester County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Chester County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Chester County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Chester County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Chester County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Who is the prosecutor for Chester County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Chester County criminal cases will either be a representative of Chester County or a representative from Pennsylvania. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Chester County Required Court Appearances
In Chester County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
In a jury trial in Chester County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Chester County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Chester County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
I need help for my Chester County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Chester County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Chester County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
Chester County Criminal Court Locations
Chester County Court of Common Pleas – Clerk of Courts (Criminal)
Address: 201 W Market St, #1400, PO Box 2746, West Chester PA 19380
Phone: 610-344-6135 Fax: 610-344-6605
Chester County Court of Common Pleas – Prothonotary (Civil)
Address: 201 W Market St, #1425, PO Box 2746, West Chester PA 19380
Phone: 610-344-6300 Fax: 610-344-5903
Chester County Orphans’ Court
Address: 201 W Market St, #2200, PO Box 2746, West Chester PA 19380
Phone: 610-344-6335 Fax: 610-344-6218
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-1-01
Address: 201 W Market St, #1307, PO Box 2746, West Chester PA 19380
Phone: 610-431-4814 Fax: 610-431-4018
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-1-02
Address: 1572 Paoli Pike, West Chester PA 19380
Phone: 610-430-1966 Fax: 610-430-8641
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-1-03
Address: 256 E Lincoln Hwy, Coatesville PA 19320
Phone: 610-384-3159 Fax: 610-384-5163
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-1-04
Address: 530 E Union St, Suite A, West Chester PA 19382
Phone: 610-429-4636 Fax: 610-429-4644
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-1-05
Address: 615 Sands Court, Coatesville PA 19320
Phone: 610-380-3325 Fax: 610-380-4774
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-2-01
Address: 347 Bridge St, Phoenixville PA 19460
Phone: 610-935-1503 Fax: 610-935-7427
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-2-03
Address: 601 Westtown Rd, #110, PO Box 2747, West Chester PA 19380
Phone: 610-436-5757 Fax: 610-431-5755
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-2-06
Address: 231 Boot Rd, Downingtown PA 19335
Phone: 610-269-5250 Fax: 610-269-5017
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-2-07
Address: 75 E Uwchlan Ave, #110, PO Box 501, Exton PA 19341
Phone: 610-524-7456 Fax: 610-524-6341
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-3-01
Address: 1130 Ridge Rd, Pottstown PA 19465
Phone: 610-469-1910 Fax: 610-469-1913
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-3-04
Address: 120 N Broad St, Kennett Square PA 19348
Phone: 610-444-6330 Fax: 610-444-6429
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-3-05
Address: 305 S Third St, Oxford PA 19363
Phone: 610-932-4305 Fax: 610-932-7649
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-3-06
Address: 4824 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook PA 19344
Phone: 610-273-3726 Fax: 610-273-4392
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-3-07
Address: 315 W First Ave, Bldg 3, Parkesburg PA 19365
Phone: 610-857-5547 Fax: 610-857-5841
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-4-01
Address: 500 Chesterbrook Blvd, #C6, Wayne PA 19087
Phone: 610-647-6533 Fax: 610-647-6535
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-4-02
Address: 231 Boot Rd, Downingtown PA 19335
Phone:610-269-5250 Fax: 610-269-5017
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-4-03
Address: 748 Springdale Dr, #110, Exton PA 19341
Phone: 610-594-7728 Fax: 610-594-7896
Chester County Magisterial District Court 15-4-04
Address: 3 Moxley Lane, PO Box 669, Avondale PA 19311
Phone: 610-268-4162 Fax: 610-268-2611