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234 Pa. Code Rule 109. Deffects in Form, Content, or Procedure.

Rule 109. Deffects in Form, Content, or Procedure.

 A defendant shall not be discharged nor shall a case be dismissed because of a defect in the form or content of a complaint, citation, summons, or warrant, or a defect in the procedures of these rules, unless the defendant raises the defect before the conclusion of the trial in a summary case or before the conclusion of the preliminary hearing in a court case, and the defect is prejudicial to the rights of the defendant.

Comment

   This rule combines and replaces former Rules 90 and 150.

   This rule clarifies when a defendant should be discharged or a case dismissed because of a defect; it eliminates disputes as to what is an informal defect or a substantive defect. As a condition of relief regardless of whether the defect is in form, content, or procedure, the court or issuing authority must determine that there is actual prejudice to the rights of the defendant.

   A complaint, citation, summons, or warrant may be amended at any time so as to remedy any defect in form or content that is not prejudicial to the rights of the defendant. Nothing in this rule shall prevent the filing of a new complaint or citation and the reissuance of process. Any new complaint or citation must be filed within the time permitted by the applicable statute of limitations.

   Ordinarily, if a defendant does not raise a defect at the summary trial or before the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the defendant cannot thereafter raise the defect as grounds for dismissal or discharge at a later stage in the proceedings. See Commonwealth v. Krall, 452 Pa. 215, 304 A.2d 488 (1973). In a summary case, however, the provisions of this rule do not preclude a defendant from raising a defect for the first time after the summary trial when the interests of justice require it, as for example, when the defendant was not represented by counsel during the proceedings before the district justice or when the defendant could not reasonably have discovered the defect until after the conclusion of the summary trial.

   Any defect properly raised under this rule shall be specifically described on the docket by the issuing authority. See Pa.R.Crim.P. 135.

   If the issuing authority determines that a defect is prejudicial, it is intended that the decision recorded on the docket pursuant to Rule 135(B)(13) shall be ‘‘discharge of the defendant’’ or ‘‘dismissal of the case,’’ rather than ‘‘not guilty.’’

   Official Note

   Former Rule 90 adopted July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; effective date extended to July 1, 1986; rescinded March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001, and replaced by Rule 109. Former Rule 150, formed from former Rule 114 (Informal Defects), and former Rule 115 (Substantive Defects), both adopted June 30, 1964, effective January 1, 1965; suspended effective May 1, 1970; both revised January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; combined, renumbered Rule 150 and amended September 18, 1973, effective January 1, 1974; amended April 8, 1982, effective July 1, 1982, Comment revised July 12, 1985, effective January 1, 1986; effective date extended to July 1, 1986; rescinded March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001, and replaced by Rule 109. New Rule 109 adopted March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised July 10, 2008, effective February 1, 2009.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the March 1, 2000 reorganization and renumbering of the rules, and the provisions of Rule 109, published with the Court’s Order at 30 Pa.B. 1477 (March 18, 2000).

   Final Report explaining the July 10, 2008 revisions to the Comment related to the cross-reference to Rule 135, published with the Court’s Order at 38 Pa.B. 3975 (July 26, 2008).

Source

   The provisions of this Rule 109 amended July 10, 2008, effective February 1, 2009, 38 Pa.B. 3971. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (264118) and (289061).



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