West Chester, PA 19380
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Lee Ciccarelli is the founder and managing partner of Ciccarelli Law Offices with over two decades experience as a practicing attorney.
Joshua Tebay is an experienced attorney and former prosecutor licensed to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Michael E. Houghton brings both passion and enthusiasm to criminal defense through his extensive knowledge and experience.
Timothy Kraeer is a highly experienced traffic attorney who handles related criminal and civil matters across the state.
Since 1992, Ann has been advocating for her clients both in and out of tough courtrooms of Philadelphia, which has cultivated her craft.
David Strenfel is a highly experienced attorney who focuses on trial advocacy, constitutional law, and criminal defense.
Jonathon Luff has successfully represented countless clients and gain freedom for many wrongfully accused individuals.
These locations are available by appointment only
Our firm provides excellent services at reasonable fees and accepts a variety of payment methods, including most major credit card providers.
Lee Ciccarelli has received a 10.0 (Superb) rating on Avvo, the highest possible rating for attorneys on the site. This rating is given based on client reviews, peer endorsements, and professional experience and credentials.
A preliminary hearing is typically conducted within 10 days of an arrest or 20 days from the date of the mailing of a summons. It is held before a magisterial district judge in the area where the alleged criminal offense occurred. At the preliminary hearing, the magisterial district judge determines from the evidence presented whether there is a prima facie case that an offense was committed and the alleged offender committed it.
At a preliminary hearing, the prosecution must show that |a prima facie case exits and with evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, it sufficiently establishes both that a crime occurred and that the accused is probably the perpetrator of that crime.
In most criminal cases, preliminary hearings provide alleged offenders with their first opportunities to understand what possible case resolutions prosecutors might be willing to accept.
If you were recently arrested or received a summons for a criminal offense anywhere in southeastern Pennsylvania, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel.
Ciccarelli Law Offices defends clients in communities throughout Lancaster County, Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and the greater Philadelphia area.
Our West Chester criminal defense lawyers work as a team to help people achieve the most favorable outcomes to their cases, including possibly having criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (610) 719-3200 to have our attorneys review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free initial consultation.
Pennsylvania Code Rule 542(C) states that an alleged offender shall be present at any preliminary hearing except as provided in these rules, and may:
If the magisterial district judge finds that the Commonwealth has established a prima facie case that an offense has been committed and the alleged offender committed it, the judge will hold the alleged offender for court on the offense on which the Commonwealth established a prima facie case.
When a prima facie case is not established, the magisterial district judge will discharge the alleged offender.
Preliminary hearings can be extremely important opportunities for criminal defense lawyers to get a better understanding of the strength of the prosecution's case. In most jurisdictions, a preliminary hearing is required and if not, then the defendant has the right to request one. Preliminary hearings establish probable cause which is the basis that must be met to bring an individual to trial.
For example, an individual may waive his or her right to a preliminary hearing in certain cases where the an offender has acknowledge there is sufficient evidence that a crime was committed (such as a driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance [DUI] arrest involving a blood alcohol concentration [BAC] of 0.16 or higher).
In such a case, an alleged offender can opt not to pursue a preliminary hearing if the prosecutor appears willing to offer Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program eligibility.
In other cases, the preliminary hearings can allow criminal defense attorneys to begin working to possibly get criminal charges reduced or dismissed if the prosecutor initially seems unwilling to provide an acceptable plea bargain or the alleged offender has genuinely been wrongfully accused.
Evidentiary rules are may be different at preliminary hearings than they are at criminal trials. Evidence that would not normally be admissible, may be presented to the magistrate judge during preliminary hearings. For example hearsay evidence is allowed during preliminary hearings and can provide a criminal defense lawyer with valuable insight into the quality of evidence possessed by the prosecutor.
Preliminary Hearing | Pennsylvania Office of Crime Victims — The Pennsylvania Office of Victims' Services provides funding to victim service agencies that work directly with victims, provides financial help to victims through the Victims Compensation Assistance Program (VCAP), and collaborates with criminal justice and allied professionals that advocate and respond to the needs of victims. You can find an overview of preliminary hearings on this section of the Pennsylvania Office of Crime Victims website. Certain text is linked to definitions
Chapter 5 | Pretrial Procedures in Court Cases — Chapter 5 of Title 234 of the Pennsylvania Code governs pretrial procedures in court cases. You can read more about waivers of preliminary hearings, preliminary hearing continuances, and disposition of cases at preliminary hearings. You can also find the law relating to proceedings by indicting grand jury without preliminary hearings.
Did you receive a court summons or were you arrested for a criminal offense in southeastern Pennsylvania? Make sure that you contact Ciccarelli Law Offices as soon as possible.
Our criminal defense attorneys in West Chester have offices in Springfield, Malvern, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, and Plymouth Square. You can have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (610) 719-3200 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.