The Philadelphia Municipal Court is a limited jurisdiction trial court that handles matters pertaining to three divisions: criminal division, civil division, and the traffic division. Trials involving landlord-tenant disputes, small claims, appeals from traffic court are handled here. Preliminary hearings and preliminary arraignments for alleged misdemeanor offenses and a limited number of felony-level offenses are also held here. It is presided over by 25 judges.
Every arrest made in Philadelphia County is required to initially be processed through the Municipal Court. This is where the criminal process begins for defendants in the majority of criminal cases. The Municipal Court handles preliminary hearings for all misdemeanor cases and for most adult felony cases.
In these courts, defendants don't have the right to a jury trial. So in the event of an arrest, it's common for a defendant's case to start with a preliminary hearing in a Municipal Court. However, when their case progresses, it will likely be tried at the Court of Common Pleas.
Philadelphia Municipal Court criminal courtrooms are located in the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street. They are also in multiple police districts throughout the City of Philadelphia. For more general information about the criminal division of the Municipal Court, contact (215) 696-7000.
Small claims cases are handled in the Civil Division of the Municipal Court. This is the jurisdiction for plaintiffs who file suits involving small claims seeking damages of $12,000 or less, real estate and school tax cases of $15,000 or less and an unlimited dollar amount of damages for landlord and tenant cases.
For more information about the Municipal Court Civil Division contact (215) 686-2910.
Moving and non-moving traffic violations of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code that are committed in the city of Philadelphia are adjudicated by the Traffic Division of the Municipal Court. The traffic division was established last of the three divisions by Act 17 of 2013 of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, which eradicated the previous Philadelphia Traffic Court. Its new home is the Municipal Court.
This court covers traffic violation citations and red light violations. Parking violations are handled by elsewhere.
The Traffic Division is located at 800 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123. For more information about your violation, or if you have general questions about this division, call (855) 868-1675.
Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney
If you've been charged with a misdemeanor or felony criminal offense, or have been issued a traffic citation, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands the system. Not only has attorney Joseph D. Lento fought in the trenches of the Philadelphia court system for a decade, he spent years working for the Philadelphia court system while attending Temple University's Beasley School of law at night. He has extensive experience representing clients who maneuver through the Philadelphia Municipal Court, and because of his skill and experience, he's helped countless clients obtain favorable outcomes. Contact him today online or by phone at (215) 535-5355 for help.