Summary Offense Appeal in PA

A summary offense appeal in Pennsylvania happen after you are not successful at the Magisterial District Justice Office. There are strict time lines for the appeal or you are out of luck. A conviction is like a diamond, it lasts forever. 


Why not just plead guilty and move on?

You receive a summary citation for speeding, public drunkenness, careless driving, reckless driving or disorderly conduct, just to name a few. The easy thing to do would be to mail back your guilty plea, write a check to the magistrate district court, and try to move on with your life. 

It would all be behind you and you would not have to show up for court. Sounds like the right thing to do, right? Wrong! You failed to hire an attorney. Although you may be thinking that it is only a summary offense or a traffic ticket, the fact is, you could be facing severe ramifications if you plead guilty.

But for some offenses, you cannot just plead and pay to move on. Some offenses like reckless driving or driving under a suspended license because paying the fine equals the loss of your driver’s license. For example, if you plead guilty to a reckless driving, you will face a six-month driver’s license suspension. Plus, if you accumulate enough points which happens with certain traffic tickets, you will face driving school or loss of your license.

Lucky for you, you have a second chance to earn either a dismissal of your summary offense or reduced charges.

Time lines

A summary appeal must be filed within 30 days of being found guilty for a summary offense by a magisterial district court judge or within 30 days of pleading guilty to a summary offense. A summary appeal must be filed in the jurisdiction where your summary offense took place. Let’s say for example that your summary trial took place in front of a magisterial district court judge in Dauphin County, you must file your appeal within 30 days at the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in the Clerk of Courts office. If you file your notice of appeal anywhere else, that court will dismiss your appeal. There are strict requirements before the Court will accept your notice of appeal. If you do not do it correctly, the court will reject your appeal.

A notice of appeal has several requirements that must be contained in the notice of appeal. Depending on which county you are filing your appeal, there may be a unique form for that particular county. If you do not file your notice of appeal, correctly, on the form required by that county, the Court will reject your appeal.


What happens after filing the summary offense appeal?

Once you have the court date for your summary appeal, the trial judge will hear your case de novo. An appeal de novo means that the trial judge hearing the appeal will start fresh. The prior testimony doesn’t “carry over.” Think of it like a redo. For summary offenses, there are no jury trials. 

Why pick us for your summary offense appeal?

Here at The McShane Firm, all of our attorneys have the knowledge and training necessary to handle your summary offense appeal. Once you hire one of our highly trained attorneys, they will immediately file your appeal. We will reach out to the District Attorney to reach a possible resolution. Hiring an attorney can make a huge difference on whether you are facing a license suspension from a reckless driving, or a speeding ticket that carries a significant amount of points. Do not delay any longer on your summary appeal, or it may be too late.

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PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.