The Court of Common Pleas currently handles four trial terms of Criminal Court, in addition to twelve Guilty Plea and ARD Court sessions throughout the year.
Criminal cases are added to each trial term based upon the case's complaint date; however, that does not prevent the disposition of a case from occurring prior to it's addition to a trial term. Following the arraignment process, if the offer extended to the defendant and/or their counsel is acceptable, the appropriate Guilty Plea paperwork may be filed with the District Attorney's Office for review and submission to the Court Administrator's Office for scheduling. This will remove the case from the upcoming trial list and slate it to be scheduled for a future Guilty Plea Court session; notice of those hearings are sent out by the Court Administrator's Office. If the defendant qualifies for the ARD program, forms and additional information on ARD can be found here.
Once a case is listed for trial and an agreement can not be reached between the District Attorney's Office and the defendant, a Continuance may be filed for additional time to prepare for trial or to allow for further negotiations. First time continuances, when filed within a specific time range, are automatically granted; otherwise, defendant and/or defense counsel will need to appear for Continuance Court to have a Judge determine whether or not the continuance will be granted or denied.
If the case is currently not listed for trial, but a scheduled proceeding has been ordered by a Judge, a Hearing Continuance may be requested, if necessary. It is recommended that the District Attorney's Office be contacted prior to filing a hearing continuance to deem whether or not there is any opposition to the continuance being filed.
If a defendant is represented by an attorney, an Entry of Appearance must be filed with the Schuylkill County Clerk of Courts Office. If a defendant wishes to waive their right to their arraignment, a defense attorney (ProSe defendants may not waive their arraignment) may file a Waiver of Arraignment form with the Clerk of Courts Office; any questions regarding filing procedures may be directed to the Clerk of Courts by calling (570) 628-1133.