A Checklist of What to Do When Your Son or Daughter is Arrested in Philadelphia

Posted about 2 years ago. Applies to Philadelphia, PA, 1 helpful vote



Call a lawyer.

The first event that will happen is the preliminary arraignment. In Philadelphia, these are all conducted via video from the Arraignment Courtroom in the basement of the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street in Center City. A lawyer will be able to call that courtroom and get a sense of what time your child's preliminary arraignment will be. These can occur anytime from 2 to 8 hours after the arrest.


Grab cash or your credit card and head down to the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street.

At the preliminary arraignment, the Bail Commissioner will read the charges to your child, who is sitting in whatever police district the arrest occurred. Then the Bail Commissioner will set the bail. A brief background report has been created about your child that will be used in determining bail. An Assistant District Attorney will argue for one amount of bail, and the Assistant Public Defender will argue for a lower bail. If you have already hired an attorney, that attorney can argue for a lower bail, and will have more knowledge about your child and his or her circumstances than the Assistant Public Defender.


Pay the bail.

There is a cashier across the hall from the Arraignment Courtroom. Go there to pay the bail that was set by the Bail Commissioner. Most bail in Philadelphia is a certain monetary amount, with only 10% required to bail our your son or daughter. Thus, if bail is set at $5,000 (10%), you only need to pay $500 at the cashier to post bail. The cashier takes cash and credit cards.


Go to the relevant police district to pick up your child.

If you post bail right away, your child will not be taken to the city prison complex on State Road. Instead, they will stay in a cell at the local police district where the arrest occurred. You can go there to pick up your child.


Prepare for the preliminary hearing in 10 days.

At the preliminary arraignment, your child (and his or her attorney if he is present) will get the date of the preliminary hearing. Typically, these are 10 days from the date of the arrest. Your child's attorney will take the lead in preparing for this hearing, which is the best opportunity to knock out the most serious charges against your child.

Additional Resources

The Criminal Division of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia

Rate this guide

Related Topics


The definition, charges, and penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) vary by state and depend on a number of factors.

DUI charges

If you have been charged with a DUI, there are important steps to take to get your license back and clear your criminal record.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

27,043 answers this week

3,326 attorneys answering