Q: My son is facing 3 criminal charges. We have hired a criminal defense attorney and have been told by our attorney that he (the attorney) doesn’t need to be at the preliminary arraignment. After reviewing the criminal process in Pennsylvania, it seems like the District Magistrate will be questioning my son about what happened. This seems like a good time to have the attorney present. Could a PA criminal defense attorney give me some insight? Thank you. Should an attorney be present at a Preliminary Arraignment in Pennsylvania? (Pittsburgh, PA)
Q: In Allegheny, attorneys never attend Preliminary Arraignments unless they can bill the client for it or get news coverage. The District Justice will not be questioning your son about what happened. The DJ may ask questions regarding bond only-his address, phone number, etc. The purpose of the Preliminary Arraignment is to set bond, hand the defendant his criminal complaint and a subpoena for his next court date which is his Preliminary Hearing. I think you should follow the advice of your counsel.