Lancaster County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lancaster County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lancaster County.
Lancaster County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Lancaster County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
Where can I get help for my Lancaster County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Lancaster County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Lancaster County
Any required court appearances in Lancaster County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Lancaster County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Who is the prosecutor for Lancaster County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Lancaster County criminal cases will either be a representative of Lancaster 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.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
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.
Jury Deliberations in Lancaster County
In Lancaster 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 happens in Lancaster County at an arraignment?
In Lancaster County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
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.
Lancaster County Criminal Court Locations
Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas – Clerk of Courts (Criminal)
Address: 50 N Duke St, PO Box 83480, Lancaster PA 17608
Phone: 717-299-8275 Fax: 717-295-3686
Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas – Prothonotary (Civil)
Address: 50 N Duke St, PO Box 83480, Lancaster PA 17608
Phone: 717-299-8282 Fax: 717-293-7210
Lancaster County Orphans’ Court
Address: 50 N Duke St, Lancaster PA 17602
Phone: 717-299-8243 Fax: 717-295-5914
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-1-01
Address: 641 Union St, Lancaster PA 17603
Phone: 717-299-7896 Fax: 717-390-2345
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-1-02
Address: 2205 Oregon Pike, Lancaster, PA 17601
Phone: 717-569-8774 Fax: 717-569-8721
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-1-03
Address: 341 Chestnut St, Columbia PA 17512
Phone: 717-684-2761 Fax: 717-684-9774
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-01
Address: 123 Locust St, Lancaster PA 17602
Phone: 717-299-7974 Fax: 717-299-8375
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-02
Address: 150 N Queen St, #120, Lancaster PA 17603
Phone: 717-295-2000 Fax: 717-209-3031
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-03
Address: 1351 Elm Ave, Lancaster PA 17603
Phone: 717-299-7898 Fax: 717-390-2346
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-04
Address: 796-A New Holland Ave, Lancaster PA 17602
Phone: 717-299-7966 Fax: 717-390-2344
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-05
Address: 399 Camp Meeting Rd, Landisville PA 17538
Phone: 717-898-2511 Fax: 717-898-3949
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-06
Address: 841 Stehman Rd, Millersville PA 17551
Phone: 717-872-4361 Fax: 717-872-1190
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-07
Address: 609 E Main St, Ephrata PA 17522
Phone: 717-733-8688 Fax: 717-733-4330
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-2-08
Address: 690 Furnace Hills Pike, Lititz PA 17543
Phone: 717-626-0258 Fax: 717-626-5528
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-01
Address: 424 S Angle St, Mount Joy PA 17552
Phone: 717-653-4575 Fax: 717-653-0401
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-02
Address: 15 Geist Rd, Lancaster PA 17601
Phone: 717-656-2191 Fax: 717-656-4425
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-03
Address: 324 Beaver Valley Pike, Willow Street, PA 17584
Phone: 717-464-4141 Fax: 717-464-2824
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-04
Address: 25 E State St, Quarryville PA 17566
Phone: 717-786-7368 Fax: 717-786-2072
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-05
Address: 14 Center St, PO Box 618, Intercourse PA 17534
Phone: 717-768-3312 Fax: 717-768-3250
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-06
Address: 745B E Main St, New Holland PA 17557
Phone: 717-354-4206 Fax: 717-354-8881
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-07
Address: 2 Cardinal Dr, Stevens PA 17578
Phone: 717-336-2801 Fax: 717-336-3394
Lancaster County Magisterial District Court 02-3-09
Address: 920 S Spruce St, Elizabethtown PA 17022
Phone: 717-653-1969 Fax: 717-367-8019