PART B. Instituting Proceedings


Rule 502. Instituting Proceedings in Court Cases.

 Criminal proceedings in court cases shall be instituted by:

   (1)  filing a written complaint; or

   (2)  an arrest without a warrant:

 (a)  when the offense is a murder, felony, or misdemeanor committed in the presence of the police officer making the arrest; or

 (b)  upon probable cause when the offense is a felony or murder; or

 (c)  upon probable cause when the offense is a misdemeanor not committed in the presence of the police officer making the arrest, when such arrest without a warrant is specifically authorized by statute.

Comment

   Criminal proceedings in court cases are instituted by 1) the filing of a complaint, followed by the issuance of a summons or arrest warrant; or by 2) a warrantless arrest, followed by the filing of a complaint. For the definition of ‘‘court case,’’ see Rule 103.

   If the defendant is held for court, the attorney for the Commonwealth submits an information to the court (see Rule 560). See Section 8931(d) of the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. §  8931(d).

   There are only a few exceptions to this rule regarding the instituting of criminal proceedings in court cases. There are, for example, special proceedings involving a coroner or medical examiner. See Commonwealth v. Lopinson, 234 A.2d 552 (Pa. 1967), vacated on other grounds sub nom. Lopinson v. Penn., 392 U.S. 647 (1968), and Commonwealth v. Smouse, 594 A.2d 666 (Pa. Super. 1991).

   See Rules 556.11 and 556.13 for the procedures for the filing of a complaint following the issuance of an indictment.

   Whenever a misdemeanor, felony, or murder is charged, even if the summary offense is also charged in the same complaint, the case should proceed as a court case under Chapter 5. See Commonwealth v. Caufman, 662 A.2d 1050 (Pa. 1995), and Commonwealth v. Campana, 304 A.2d 432 (Pa. 1973), vacated and remanded, 414 U.S. 808 (1973), on remand, 314 A.2d 854 (Pa. 1974). In judicial districts in which there is a traffic court established pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § §  1301—1342, when a summary motor vehicle offense within the jurisdiction of the traffic court arises in the same criminal episode as another summary offense or a misdemeanor, felony, or murder offense, see 42 Pa.C.S. §  1302 and Commonwealth v. Masterson, 418 A.2d 664 (Pa. Super. 1980).

   Paragraph (2)(c) is intended to acknowledge those specific instances wherein the General Assembly has provided by statute for arrest without a warrant for a misdemeanor not committed in the presence of the arresting officer. It in no way attempts to modify the law of arrest where no specific statutory provision applies.

   For institution of criminal proceedings in summary cases, see Rule 400.

   Official Note

   Original Rule 102(1), (2), and (3), adopted June 30, 1964, effective January 1, 1965; suspended January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970. New Rule 102 adopted January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; renumbered Rule 101, and made applicable to court cases only, September 18, 1973, effective January 1, 1974; Comment revised February 15, 1974, effective immediately; amended June 30, 1975, effective September 1, 1975; Comment amended January 4, 1979, effective January 9, 1979; paragraph (1) amended October 22, 1981, effective January 1, 1982; Comment revised July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; January 1, 1986 effective date extended to July 1, 1986; Comment revised January 31, 1991, effective July 1, 1991; Comment revised August 12, 1993, effective September 1, 1993; amended August 9, 1994, effective January 1, 1995; Comment revised January 16, 1996, effective immediately; renumbered Rule 502 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended March 9, 2006, effective September 1, 2006; Comment revised September 21, 2012, effective November 1, 2012; Comment revised November 27, 2018, effective March 1, 2019.

   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 August 12, 1993 Comment revisions published at 22 Pa.B. 3826 (July 25, 1992).

   Report explaining the August 9, 1994 amendments published at 22 Pa.B. 6 (January 4, 1993); Final Report published with the Court’s Order at 24 Pa.B. 4342 (August 27, 1994).

   Report explaining the January 16, 1996 Comment revisions published with the Court’s Order at 26 Pa.B. 437 (February 3, 1996).

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1478 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the March 9, 2006 changes to paragraphs (2)(a) and (b) and the first and third paragraphs of the Comment published with the Court’s Order at 36 Pa.B. 1392 (March 25, 2006).

   Final Report explaining the September 21, 2012 revising the second paragraph of the Comment to correct a typographical error published with the Court’s Order at 42 Pa.B. 6251 (October 6, 2012).

   Final Report explaining the November 27, 2018 revision to the Comment regarding complaint procedures subsequent to indictment published with the Court’s Order at 48 Pa.B. 7632 (December 15, 2018).

Source

   The provisions of the Rule 502 amended March 9, 2006, effective September 1, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 1385; amended September 21, 2012, effective November 1, 2012, 42 Pa.B. 6247; amended November 27, 2018, effective March 1, 2019, 48 Pa.B. 7626. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (383591) to (383593).



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