This information is provided by Andrew Theyken Legal, for educational reference only. Always contact an attorney about your legal issues.
You've Been Charged with a Crime
You've been charged with a crime, what happens next? The first thing that's going to happen, is that you will be taken before a magisterial district judge. it will be that District Judge's job to inform you of the charges that have been filed against you and to determine whether or not there is a base level of evidence against you---this is known as a preliminary arraignment and probable cause hearing.
The Probable Cause Hearing
Essentially, at this point, it is the obligation of the Commonwealth to produce evidence that there is probable cause that you committed a crime. If the district judge determines that there is probable cause that you committed a crime, that judge will bind over the charges and the case will move to the court of common pleas if it is a serious charge.
If the district magisterial judge determines that there is not probable cause, the case against you will be dismissed. However, this is not the end of the road; the district attorney has other tools and procedural mechanisms that they can employ to get you back in court.
Why you Need an Attorney at this Stage
Unfortunately for defendants, probable cause hearings are typically pro-forma events, and rarely results in the dismissal of charges. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can use a probable cause hearing to question the Commonwealth's Witnesses to determine what the district attorney is thinking, and often the theory of the District Attorney's case.
This is your first opportunity to determine, what the Commonwealth may know about you. It's important that you not give up your opportunity to figure out what the Commonwealth knows, and because of this it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney even at this early stage of proceedings. If you need help, you should contact Andrew right away.