Rule 403. Contents of Citation.
(A) Every citation shall contain:
(1) the name and address of the organization, and badge number, if any, of the law enforcement officer;
(2) the name and address of the defendant;
(3) a notation if the defendant is under 18 years of age and whether the parents or guardians have been notified of the charge(s);
(4) the date and time when the offense is alleged to have been committed, provided however, if the day of the week is an essential element of the offense charged, such day must be specifically set forth;
(5) the place where the offense is alleged to have been committed;
(6) a citation of the specific section and subsection of the statute or ordinance allegedly violated, together with a summary of the facts sufficient to advise the defendant of the nature of the offense charged;
(7) the date of issuance;
(8) a notation if criminal laboratory services are requested in the case;
(9) a verification by the law enforcement officer that the facts set forth in the citation are true and correct to the officers personal knowledge, or information and belief, and that any false statements therein are made subject to the penalties of the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904, relating to unsworn falsification to authorities.
(B) The copy delivered to the defendant shall also contain a notice to the defendant:
(1) that the original copy of the citation will be filed before the issuing authority of the magisterial district designated in the citation, the address and number of which shall be contained in the citation; and
(2) that the defendant shall, within 10 days after issuance of the citation:
(a) plead not guilty by:
(i) notifying the proper issuing authority in writing of the plea and forwarding as collateral for appearance at trial an amount equal to the fine and costs specified in the citation, plus any additional fee required by law. If the amount is not specified, the defendant shall forward the sum of $50 as collateral for appearance at trial; or
(ii) appearing before the proper issuing authority, entering the plea, and depositing such collateral for appearance at trial as the issuing authority shall require. If the defendant cannot afford to pay the collateral specified in the citation or the $50, the defendant must appear before the issuing authority to enter a plea; or
(b) plead guilty by:
(i) notifying the proper issuing authority in writing of the plea and forwarding an amount equal to the fine and costs when specified in the statute or ordinance, the amount of which shall be set forth in the citation; or
(ii) appearing before the proper issuing authority for the entry of the plea and imposition of sentence, when the fine and costs are not specified in the citation or when required to appear pursuant to Rule 409(B)(3), 414(B)(3), or 424(B)(3); or
(c) appear before the proper issuing authority to request consideration for inclusion in an accelerated rehabilitative disposition program;
(3) that all checks forwarded for the fine and costs or for collateral shall be made payable to the magisterial district number set forth on the citation;
(4) that failure to respond to the citation as provided above within the time specified:
(a) shall result in the issuance of a summons when a violation of an ordinance or any parking offense is charged, or when the defendant is under 18 years of age, and in all other cases shall result in the issuance of a warrant for the arrest of the defendant; and
(b) shall result in the suspension of the defendants drivers license when a violation of the Vehicle Code is charged;
(5) that failure to indicate a plea when forwarding an amount equal to the fine and costs specified on the citation shall result in a guilty plea being recorded; and
(6) that, if the defendant is convicted or has pleaded guilty, the defendant may appeal within 30 days for a trial de novo.
A law enforcement officer may prepare, verify, and transmit a citation electronically. The law enforcement officer contemporaneously must give the defendant a paper copy of the citation containing all the information required by this rule. Nothing in this rule is intended to require the defendant to sign the citation.
Paragraph (A)(3) requires the law enforcement officer who issues a citation to indicate on the citation if the defendant is a juvenile and, if so, whether the juveniles parents were notified. See the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. § 1522, concerning parental notification in certain summary cases involving juveniles.
Paragraph (A)(8) requires the law enforcement officer who issues a citation to indicate on the citation whether criminal laboratory services are requested in the case. This information is necessary to inform the magisterial district judge that, in addition to any fines, restitution, or costs, the magisterial district judge may be required to sentence the defendant to pay a criminal laboratory user fee. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 1725.3 which requires that a defendant be sentenced to pay a criminal laboratory user fee in certain specified cases when laboratory services are required to prosecute the case.
As provided in paragraph (B)(2)(b)(i), the defendant may plead guilty by mail only when the fine and costs are set forth in the citation. The law enforcement officer may specify the fine and costs in the citation only when the penalty provided by law does not include a possible sentence of imprisonment and the statute or ordinance fixes the specific amount for the fine.
Paragraph (B)(4)(a) provides for notice to the defendant who is under 18 years of age that a summons will be issued if the defendant fails to respond to the citation.
Paragraph (B)(4)(b) provides notice to the defendant that his or her license will be suspended if the defendant fails to respond to the citation or summons within the time specified in the rules. See 75 Pa.C.S. § 1533.
Paragraph (B)(5) provides a uniform procedure for handling cases in which a defendant returns the fine and costs but fails to sign the citation and, therefore, does not indicate a plea. See Rule 407.
Paragraph (B)(6) was amended in 2000 to make it clear in a summary criminal case that the defendant may file an appeal for a trial de novo following the entry of a guilty plea. See Rule 460 (Notice of Appeal).
It is intended that the notice to the defendant, required by paragraph (B) to be on the copy of the citation delivered to the defendant, shall be simply worded so the plain meaning of the notice is easily understandable.
For consequences of defects in a citation, see Rule 109.
With regard to the proper issuing authority as used in these rules, see Rule 130.
See Rule 401 for procedures for instituting cases in which there is a parking violation. When the parking violation information is electronically transmitted as permitted by Rule 401(A), only a summons is issued as provided in Rule 411.
Previous rule, originally numbered Rule 133(a) and Rule 133(b), adopted January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; renumbered Rule 53(a) and 53(b) September 18, 1973, effective January 1, 1974; amended January 23, 1975, effective September 1, 1975; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; rescinded July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986, and not replaced in these rules. Present Rule 53 adopted July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986. The January 1, 1986 effective dates all are extended to July 1, 1986; amended February 1, 1989, effective as to cases instituted on or after July 1, 1989; amended January 31, 1991, effective July 1, 1991; amended June 3, 1993, effective as to new citations printed on or after July 1, 1994; amended July 25, 1994, effective January 1, 1995; renumbered Rule 403 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended March 3, 2000, effective July 1, 2000; Comment revised February 6, 2003, effective July 1, 2003; amended August 7, 2003, effective July 1, 2004; amended January 26, 2007, effective February 1, 2008.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Report explaining the January 31, 1991 amendments published at 20 Pa.B. 4788 (September 15, 1990); Supplemental Report published at 21 Pa.B. 621 (February 16, 1991).
Report explaining the June 3, 1993 amendments published with the Courts Order at 23 Pa.B. 2809 (June 19, 1993).
Report explaining the July 25, 1994 amendments published with Courts Order at 24 Pa.B. 4068 (August 13, 1994).
Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Courts Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).
Final Report explaining the March 3, 2000 amendments concerning appeals from guilty pleas published with the Courts Order at 30 Pa.B. 1509 (March 18, 2000).
Final Report explaining the February 6, 2003 Comment revisions cross-referencing Rule 401 concerning electronic transmission of parking citations published with the Courts Order at 33 Pa.B. 973 (February 22, 2003).
Final Report explaining the August 7, 2003 amendments to paragraph (B)(4)(a) concerning juveniles published with the Courts Order at 33 Pa.B. 4293 (August 30, 2003).
Final Report explaining the January 26, 2007 amendments to paragraph (B)(2)(b)(ii) and revisions to the Comment published with the Courts Order at 37 Pa.B. 760 (February 17, 2007).
The provisions of this Rule 403 amended March 3, 2000, effective July 1, 2000, 30 Pa.B. 1508; amended February 6, 2003, effective July 1, 2003, 33 Pa.B. 969; amended August 11, 2003, effective July 1, 2004, 33 Pa.B. 4289; amended January 16, 2007, effective February 1, 2008, 37 Pa.B. 752. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (299399) to (299402).
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