Dauphin County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Dauphin County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Dauphin County.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Prosecutor in Dauphin County
In Dauphin County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Dauphin County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Pennsylvania. For the most part, the prosecutor in Dauphin County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Who can help me in Dauphin County?
For general information about your case the Dauphin County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Jury Deliberations in Dauphin County
In Dauphin County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
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.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Where will Dauphin County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Dauphin County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Dauphin County.
Mandatory Appearances in Dauphin County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Dauphin County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.
Arraignments in Dauphin County
During an arraignment in Dauphin County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Dauphin County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Dauphin County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sentencing in Dauphin County
In Dauphin County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Dauphin County Criminal Court Locations
Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas – Clerk of Courts (Criminal)
Address: 101 Market St, PO Box 1295, Harrisburg PA 17108
Phone: 717-780-6530 Fax: 717-780-6472
Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas – Prothonotary (Civil)
Address: 101 Market St, #101, Harrisburg PA 17101
Phone: 717-780-6520 Fax:717-780-6477
Dauphin County Orphans’ Court
Address: 101 Market St, #103, Harrisburg PA 17101
Phone: 717-780-6510 Fax: 717-780-6474
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-0-00
Address: 123 Walnut St, Harrisburg PA 17101
Phone: 717-255-3100 Fax: 717-233-2580
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-0-01
Address: 501 Mall Rd, Harrisburg PA 17111
Phone: 717-780-6824 Fax: 717-561-4196
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-1-01
Address: 2125 Paxton Church Rd, Harrisburg PA 17110
Phone: 717-545-4143 Fax: 717-657-2107
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-1-02
Address: 2967-A N 7th St, Harrisburg PA 17110
Phone: 717-238-3388 Fax: 717-238-3004
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-1-04
Address: 1520 Walnut St, Harrisburg PA 17103
Phone: 717-233-1220 Fax: 717-233-1598
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-1-05
Address: 538 S 29th St, Harrisburg PA 17104
Phone: 717-231-3500 Fax: 717-231-3504
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-1-06
Address: 5201 Jonestown Rd, Harrisburg PA 17112
Phone: 717-671-8640 Fax: 717-671-1899
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-2-01
Address: 1281 S 28th St, Harrisburg PA 17111
Phone: 717-558-1160 Fax: 717-558-1056
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-2-02
Address: 102 Agnes St, Harrisburg PA 17104
Phone: 717-939-6996 Fax: 717-939-4868
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-2-03
Address: 50 Canal St, Royalton PA 17057
Phone: 717-944-4463 Fax: 717-948-1974
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-2-04
Address: 1805 N Cameron St, Harrisburg PA 17103
Phone: 717-233-3599 Fax: 717-233-3547
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-2-05
Address: 1300 Rolleston St, Harrisburg PA 17104
Phone: 717-234-0949 Fax: 717-234-0953
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-3-01
Address: Manors Rd, RR 01, PO Box 68, Elizabethville PA 17023
Phone: 717-362-3396 Fax: 717-362-4507
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-3-02
Address: 1025 Peters Mountain Rd, Dauphin PA 17018
Phone: 717-921-8007 Fax: 717-921-3585
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-3-03
Address: 5925 Stevenson Ave, Suite B, Harrisburg PA 17112
Phone: 717-545-0261 Fax: 717-545-8015
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-3-04
Address: 576 E Main St, Hummelstown PA 17036
Phone: 717-583-1912 Fax: 717-583-1915
Dauphin County Magisterial District Court 12-3-05
Address: 7810 Allentown Blvd, Suite A, Harrisburg PA 17112
Phone: 717-671-8720 Fax: 717-671-1282