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Preliminary continuances

Carnegie, PA |

How many times can a prelim be postponed in Pa? The case involves felonies and misdemeanors. Postponed for 7 months already. Is this normal? my son is a victim in this case and has no idea why it keeps postponing. What are usual reasons?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. Pennsylvania has a speedy trial rule. If the defendant is out on bail, then the case must go to trial within 365 days unless the defendant is requesting the continuances. If the defendant is incarcerated, then the rule is 6 months. Again, if the defendant asks for the continuances, then this rule doesn't apply. If the defendant is continuing the matter with the agreement of the Commonwealth then the Preliminary Hearing could be postponed for quite some time. The right to a preliminary hearing is a right of the defendant, not the victim. Good Luck.


  2. Is a 7 month delay normal, no. Does it happen, sure. There are many reasons, including unavailability of cops, the defendant, attorneys, the judge or witnesses. Most counties have a victim/witness assistance office that works with the district attorney's office. You or your son could call them to seek assistance and get some answers.


  3. Technically, there's no limit on continuances. It's up to the judge to determine what's appropriate. Continuances can be granted for many, many reasons, but at some point most judges will want to move the case off their docket. Seven months is close to the limit i've seen in PA. That being said, I've had some cases stay at a preliminary hearing stage for over a year. Call the DA and find out what's going on.

    Nothing in this question or answer shall let any person or use (including the person who asked the question) the impression that Mr. Benari is their attorney or that the attorney-client relationship has been created. All answers given by Mr. Benari are made as if they were hypotheticals, and no true legal advice can be given unless Mr. Benari is retained and is provided with a complete set of all the facts involved. If you need an attorney in the greater Philadelphia area, please call us at (610) 566-1006.

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