Current through Register Vol. 53, No. 46, November 18, 2023
Rule 542 - Preliminary Hearing; Continuances(A) The attorney for the Commonwealth may appear at a preliminary hearing and: (1) assume charge of the prosecution; and(2) recommend to the issuing authority that the defendant be discharged or bound over to court according to law.(B) When no attorney appears on behalf of the Commonwealth at a preliminary hearing, the affiant may be permitted to ask questions of any witness who testifies.(C) The defendant shall be present at any preliminary hearing except as provided in these rules, and may: (1) be represented by counsel;(2) cross-examine witnesses and inspect physical evidence offered against the defendant;(3) call witnesses on the defendant's behalf, other than witnesses to the defendant's good reputation only;(4) offer evidence on the defendant's own behalf, and testify; and(5) make written notes of the proceedings, or have counsel do so, or make a stenographic, mechanical, or electronic record of the proceedings.(D) At the preliminary hearing, the issuing authority shall determine from the evidence presented whether there is a prima facie case that (1) an offense has been committed and (2) the defendant has committed it.(E) Hearsay as provided by law shall be considered by the issuing authority in determining whether a prima facie case has been established. Hearsay evidence shall be sufficient to establish any element of an offense, including, but not limited to, those requiring proof of the ownership of, non-permitted use of, damage to, or value of property.(F) In any case in which a summary offense is joined with a misdemeanor, felony, or murder charge, the issuing authority shall not proceed on the summary offense except as provided in Rule 543(F).(G) CONTINUANCES(1) The issuing authority may, for cause shown, grant a continuance and shall note on the transcript every continuance together with:(a) The grounds for granting each continuance;(b) The identity of the party requesting such continuance; and(c) The new date, time, and place for the preliminary hearing, and the reasons that the particular date was chosen.
When the preliminary hearing is conducted in the court of common pleas, the judge shall record the party to which the period of delay caused by the continuance shall be attributed and whether the time will be included in or excluded from the computation of the time within which trial must commence in accordance with Rule 600.(2) The issuing authority shall give notice of the new date, time, and place for the preliminary hearing to the defendant, the defendant's attorney of record, if any, and the attorney for the Commonwealth.(a) The notice shall be in writing.(b) Notice shall be served on the defendant either in person or by first class mail.(c) Notice shall be served on defendant's attorney of record and the attorney for the Commonwealth either by personal delivery, or by leaving a copy for or mailing a copy to the attorneys at the attorneys' offices.The provisions of this Rule 542 amended August 24, 2004, effective 8/1/2005, 34 Pa.B. 5016; amended March 9, 2006, effective 9/1/2006, 36 Pa.B. 1385; amended May 1, 2007, effective 9/4/2007, 37 Pa.B. 2496; amended January 27, 2011, effective in 30 days, 41 Pa.B. 834; amended June 21, 2012, effective in 180 days, 42 Pa.B. 4140; amended October 1, 2012, effective 7/1/2013, 42 Pa.B. 6622; amended April 25, 2013, effective 6/1/2013, 43 Pa.B. 2560.