Pennsylvania Code & Bulletin

• No statutes or acts will be found at this website.

The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 53 Pa.B. 696 (January 28, 2023).

234 Pa. Code Rule 522. Detention of Witnesses.

Rule 522. Detention of Witnesses.

 (A)  After an accused has been arrested for any offense, upon application of the attorney for the Commonwealth or defense counsel, and subject to the provisions of this chapter, a court may set bail for any material witness named in the application. The application shall be supported by an affidavit setting forth adequate cause for the court to conclude that the witness will fail to appear when required if not held in custody or released on bail. Upon receipt of the application, the court may issue process to bring any named witnesses before it for the purpose of demanding bail.

 (B)  If the material witness is unable to satisfy the conditions of the bail bond after having been given immediate and reasonable opportunity to do so, the court shall commit the witness to jail, provided that at any time thereafter and prior to the term of court for which the witness is being held, the court shall release the witness when the witness satisfies the conditions of the bail bond.

 (C)  Upon application, a court may release a witness from custody with or without bond, or grant other appropriate relief.

 (D)  If process has been issued pursuant to paragraph (A) for a material witness who is under the age of 18 years, the procedures provided in Rule 151 shall apply.


   This rule does not permit a witness to be detained prior to the arrest of the defendant, since an arrest might never take place and the witness could be held indefinitely.

   ‘‘Conditions of the bail bond’’ as used in this rule include the conditions set forth in Rule 526(A) and the conditions of release defined in Rules 524, 527, and 528.

   Pursuant to paragraph (C), a witness may be released on his or her own recognizance conditioned upon the witness’ written agreement to appear as required. See Rule 524.

   This rule does not affect the compensation and expenses of witnesses under the Judicial Code, 42 Pa.C.S. §  5903, or the provisions of the Uniform Act to Secure the Attendance of Witnesses from Within or Without a State in Criminal Proceedings. See 42 Pa.C.S. § §  5963(c) and 5964(b) relating to bail.

   In cases in which bail is set for a material witness pursuant to this rule, the court should consider all the types of release permitted in Rule 524 and the conditions of nonmonetary release upon bail available under Rule 527. When a material witness is to be detained, the court should impose the least restrictive means of assuring that witness’ presence, including the use of release on the witness’ own recognizance or release upon other nonmonetary conditions, such as electronic monitoring, especially when the witness has limited financial means to post monetary bail.

   Official Note

   Former Rule 4017, previously Rule 4014, adopted November 22, 1965, effective June 1, 1966; renumbered Rule 4017 July 23, 1973, effective 60 days hence; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; rescinded September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996, and replaced by present Rule 522. Present Rule 4017 adopted September 13, 1995, effective January 1, 1996. The January 1, 1996 effective dates extended to April 1, 1996; the April 1, 1996 effective date extended to July 1, 1996; renumbered Rule 522 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; Comment revised April 28, 2006, effective August 1, 2006; amended December 7, 2018, effective April 1, 2019.

   Committee Explanatory Reports:

   Final Report explaining the provisions of the new rule published with Court’s Order at 25 Pa.B. 4116 (September 30, 1995).

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

   Final Report explaining the April 28, 2006 revision to the Comment concerning electronic monitoring published with the Court’s Order at 36 Pa.B. 2279 (May 13, 2006).

   Final Report explaining the December 7, 2018 amendments concerning material witnesses under the age of 18 years published with the Court’s Order at 48 Pa.B. 7749 (December 22, 2018).


   The provisions of this Rule 522 amended April 28, 2006, effective August 1, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 2279; amended December 7, 2018, effective April 1, 2019, 48 Pa.B. 7746. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (382197) to (382198).

No part of the information on this site may be reproduced for profit or sold for profit.

This material has been drawn directly from the official Pennsylvania Code full text database. Due to the limitations of HTML or differences in display capabilities of different browsers, this version may differ slightly from the official printed version.