Criminal Justice Flow Chart



Formal Arraignment



Pre-Trial Conference






Roughly six months

from arrest

Total process to take 180 days or less provided there are no postponements and crime is not deemed heinous.

Within 3-10 days, Can be postponed.

Within 72 Hours 


"Paper Date" - inmate usually does not appear at Pre-Trial Conf.

  • Signing of subpoena for trial date
  • D.A. and either Public Defender or Court-Appointed Attorney assigned if defendant does not have a private attorney
  • Defendant enters guilty or not-guilty plea
  • Defendant chooses jury trial or non-jury trial
  • Defendant may choose to accept a plea bargain at this time

"Inmate may see P.D. approx. two weeks before trial

accused may present a defense

  • Believability of witnesses extremely important
  • Defendant may be found guilty or not-guilty
  • If guilty, sentencing date to be set; defendant may choose to have pre-sentence investigation which normally takes an additional 8-10 weeks

A person found guilty may be sentenced to any of a number of options, often in combination: fines, restitution, probation, alternative housing, to total confinement.

[All paper work including order for release must first be in inmate's file before actual release of inmate from ACJ to outside, a program, another correctional facility.]

"Paper Date" - inmate does not usually appear at Arraignment

  • signing of subpoena giving Pre-Trial Conference date and judge assignment

  • Determines if enough evidence to prove crime committed and that the accused is the perpetrator; if so, case is held for trial.
  • Court must presume that the witness is telling the truth; defense does not present its evidence.
  • Can result in dismissal of case, reduction of charges, or fine assessed.
  • A motion for bail reduction can be made at this hearing[Inmate will be seen by P.D. just prior to going to Preliminary Hearing]

Accused is brought to Allegheny County Jail

  • Caught committing a crime
  • Arrest warrant issued
  • Probable cause

Takes place in front of magistrate at Municipal Courts Bldg.

  • Bond is set
  • A Behavior Clinic detainer can be lodged. Bond cannot be paid until defendant is seen by the Behavior psychiatrist and cleared. 
    [Opportunity is give to post bond. PD Investigator interviews accused, usually on Intake Pods or after inmate classified]

Preliminary Hearing



Arrest Made



"Let's Make It Right"

The Law Offices of Michael O'Day