Rule 504. Contents of Complaint.
Every complaint shall contain:
(1) the name of the affiant;
(2) the name and address of the defendant, or if unknown, a description of the defendant as nearly as may be;
(3) a direct accusation to the best of the affiants knowledge, or information and belief, that the defendant violated the penal laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;
(4) the date when the offense is alleged to have been committed; provided, however:
(a) if the specific date is unknown, or if the offense is a continuing one, it shall be sufficient to state that it was committed on or about any date within the period of limitations; and
(b) if the date or day of the week is an essential element of the offense charged, such date or day must be specifically set forth;
(5) the place where the offense is alleged to have been committed;
(6) (a) in a court case, a summary of the facts sufficient to advise the defendant of the nature of the offense charged, but neither the evidence nor the statute allegedly violated need be cited in the complaint. However, a citation of the statute allegedly violated, by itself, shall not be sufficient for compliance with this subsection; or
(b) in a summary case, 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) a statement that the acts of the defendant were against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or in violation of an ordinance of a political subdivision;
(8) a notation if criminal laboratory services are requested in the case;
(9) a notation that the defendant has or has not been fingerprinted;
(10) a request for the issuance of a warrant of arrest or a summons, unless an arrest has already been effected;
(11) a verification by the affiant that the facts set forth in the complaint are true and correct to the affiants 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;
(12) a certification that the complaint complies with the provisions of the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania regarding confidential information and documents; and
(13) the signature of the affiant and the date of the execution of the complaint.
This rule sets forth the required contents of all complaints whether the affiant is a law enforcement officer, a police officer, or a private citizen. When the affiant is a private citizen, the complaint must be submitted to an attorney for the Commonwealth for approval. See Rule 506. When the district attorney elects to proceed under Rule 507 (Approval of Police Complaints and Arrest Warrant Affidavits by Attorney for the CommonwealthLocal Option), the police officer must likewise submit the complaint for approval by an attorney for the Commonwealth.
Ordinarily, whenever a misdemeanor, felony, or murder is charged, any summary offense in such a case, if known at the time, should be charged in the same complaint, and the case should proceed as a court case under Chapter 5 Part B. 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) (compulsory joinder rule). In judicial districts in which there is a traffic court established pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § § 13011342, 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 (8) requires the affiant who prepares the complaint to indicate on the complaint whether criminal laboratory services are requested in the case. This information is necessary to alert the magisterial district judge, the district attorney, and the court that the defendant in the case may be liable for a criminal laboratory user fee. See 42 Pa.C.S. § 1725.3 that requires a defendant to be sentenced to pay a criminal laboratory user fee in certain specified cases when laboratory services are required to prosecute the case.
The requirement that the affiant who prepares the complaint indicate whether the defendant has been fingerprinted as required by the Criminal History Record Information Act, 18 Pa.C.S. § 9112, is included so that the issuing authority knows whether it is necessary to issue a fingerprint order with the summons as required by Rule 510.
See Rule 113.1 regarding the Case Records Public Access Policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania and the requirements regarding filings and documents that contain confidential information.
Original Rule 104 adopted June 30, 1964, effective January 1, 1965; suspended January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970. New Rule 104 adopted January 31, 1970, effective May 1, 1970; renumbered Rule 132 September 18, 1973, effective January 1, 1974; amended October 22, 1981, effective January 1, 1982; amended November 9, 1984, effective January 2, 1985; amended July 25, 1994, effective January 1, 1995; renumbered Rule 104 and Comment revised August 9, 1994, effective January 1, 1995; renumbered Rule 504 and Comment revised March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised March 9, 2006, effective September 1, 2006; amended July 10, 2008, effective February 1, 2009; amended June 1, 2018, effective July 1, 2018.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Report explaining the July 25, 1994 amendment published with Courts Order at 24 Pa.B. 4068 (August 13, 1994).
Report explaining the August 9, 1994 Comment revisions published at 22 Pa.B. 6 (January 4, 1992); Final Report published with the Courts Order at 24 Pa.B. 4342 (August 27, 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 9, 2006 Comment revision published with the Courts Order at 36 Pa.B. 1392 (March 25, 2006).
Final Report explaining the July 10, 2008 amendments adding new paragraph (9) requiring a notation concerning fingerprinting published with the Courts Order at 38 Pa.B. 3975 (July 26, 2008).
Amendment regarding the Courts public access policy published with the Courts Order at 48 Pa.B. 3575 (June 16, 2018).
The provisions of this Rule 504 amended March 9, 2006, effective September 1, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 1385; amended July 10, 2008, effective February 1, 2009, 38 Pa.B. 3971; amended June 1, 2018, effective July 1, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 3575. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (335933) to (335934).
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