Rule 571. Arraignment.
(A) Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (D), arraignment shall be in such form and manner as provided by local court rule. Notice of arraignment shall be given to the defendant as provided in Rule 114 or by first class mail. Unless otherwise provided by local court rule, or postponed by the court for cause shown, arraignment shall take place no later than 10 days after the information has been filed.
(B) In the discretion of the court, the arraignment of the defendant may be conducted by using two-way simultaneous audio-visual communication. When the counsel for the defendant is present, the defendant must be permitted to communicate fully and confidentially with defense counsel immediately prior to and during the arraignment.
(C) At arraignment, the defendant shall be advised:
(1) of the right to be represented by counsel;
(2) of the nature of the charges contained in the information;
(3) of the right to file motions, including a Request for a Bill of Particulars, a Motion for Pretrial Discovery and Inspection, a Motion Requesting Transfer from Criminal Proceedings to Juvenile Proceedings Pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 6322, and an Omnibus Pretrial Motion, and the time limits within which the motions must be filed; and.
(4) if the defendant fails to appear without cause at any proceeding for which the defendants presence is required, including trial, that the defendants absence may be deemed a waiver of the right to be present, and the proceeding may be conducted in the defendants absence.
If the defendant or counsel has not received a copy of the information(s) pursuant to Rule 562, a copy thereof shall be provided.
(D) A defendant may waive appearance at arraignment if the following requirements are met:
(1) the defendant is represented by counsel of record and counsel concurs in the waiver; and
(2) the defendant and counsel sign and file with the clerk of courts a waiver of appearance at arraignment that acknowledges the defendant:
(a) understands the nature of the charges;
(b) understands the rights and requirements contained in paragraph (C) of this rule; and
(c) waives his or her right to appear for arraignment.
The main purposes of arraignment are: to ensure that the defendant is advised of the charges; to have counsel enter an appearance, or if the defendant has no counsel, to consider the defendants right to counsel; and to commence the period of time within which to initiate pretrial discovery and to file other motions. Although the specific form of the arraignment is not prescribed by this rule, judicial districts are required to ensure that the purposes of arraignments are accomplished in all court cases.
Concerning the waiver of counsel, see Rule 121.
Nothing in this rule is intended to preclude judicial districts from providing written notice of the arraignment to the defendant at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing when a case is held for court. See Rule 543.
Under paragraph (A), in addition to other instances of cause shown for delaying the arraignment, the arraignment may be delayed when the defendant is unavailable for arraignment within the 10-day period after the information is filed.
Within the meaning of paragraph (B), counsel is present when physically with the defendant or with the judicial officer presiding over the arraignment.
Under paragraph (B), the court has discretion to order that a defendant appear in person for the arraignment.
Under paragraph (B), two-way simultaneous audio-visual communication is a form of advanced communication technology.
Paragraph (C)(4) requires that the defendant be advised of the consequences of failing to appear for any court proceeding. See Rule 602 concerning a defendants failure to appear for trial; see also Commonwealth v. Bond, 693 A.2d 220, 223 (Pa. Super. 1997) ([A] defendant who is unaware of the charges against him, unaware of the establishment of his trial date or is absent involuntarily is not absent without cause.).
Paragraph (D) is intended to facilitate, for defendants represented by counsel, waiver of appearance at arraignment through procedures such as arraignment by mail. For the procedures to provide notice of court proceedings requiring the defendants presence, see Rule 114.
See Rule 596 for the procedures for requesting transfer from criminal proceedings to juvenile proceedings pursuant to 42 Pa.C.S. § 6322 in cases in which the defendant was under the age of 18 at the time of the commission of the alleged offense and charged with one of the offenses excluded from the definition of delinquent act in paragraphs (2)(i), (2)(ii), and (2)(iii) of 42 Pa.C.S. § 6302. See also Rules 595 (mandatory status conference), 597 (procedures when motion filed), and 598 (place of detention).
Formerly Rule 317, adopted June 30, 1964, effective January 1, 1965; paragraph (b) amended November 22, 1971, effective immediately; paragraphs (a) and (b) amended and paragraph (e) deleted November 29, 1972, effective 10 days hence; paragraphs (a) and (c) amended February 15, 1974, effective immediately. Rule 317 renumbered Rule 303 and amended June 29, 1977, amended and paragraphs (c) and (d) deleted October 21, 1977, and amended November 22, 1977, all effective as to cases in which the indictment or information is filed on or after January 1, 1978; Comment revised January 28, 1983, effective July 1, 1983; amended October 21, 1983, effective January 1, 1984; amended August 12, 1993, effective September 1, 1993; rescinded May 1, 1995, effective July 1, 1995, and replaced by new Rule 303. New Rule 303 adopted May 1, 1995, effective July 1, 1995; renumbered Rule 571 and amended March 1, 2000, effective April 1, 2001; amended November 17, 2000, effective January 1, 2001; amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002; amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004; amended August 24, 2004, effective August 1, 2005; amended May 1, 2007, effective September 4, 2007, and May 1, 2007 Order amended May 15, 2007; amended July 31, 2012, effective November 1, 2012; amended May 2, 2013, effective June 1, 2013.
Committee Explanatory Reports:
Report explaining the August 12, 1993 amendments published at 22 Pa.B. 3826 (July 25, 1992).
Final Report explaining the May 1, 1995 changes published with the Courts Order at 25 Pa.B. 1944 (May 20, 1995).
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 November 17, 2000 amendments concerning a defendants waiver of appearance at arraignment published with the Courts Order at 30 Pa.B. 6184 (December 2, 2000).
Final Report explaining the May 10, 2002 amendments concerning advanced communication technology published with the Courts Order at 32 Pa.B. 2591 (May 25, 2002).
Final Report explaining the March 3, 2004 amendments updating the cross-references correlative to the March 3, 2004 changes to the motions rules published with the Courts Order at 34 Pa.B. 1561 (March 20, 2004).
Final Report explaining the August 24, 2004 addition of paragraph (E) and the correlative Comment provisions published with the Courts Order at 34 Pa.B. 5025 (September 11, 2004).
Final Report explaining the May 1, 2007 deletion of paragraph (E) and the correlative Comment provisions published with the Courts Order at 37 Pa.B. 2503 (June 2, 2007).
Final Report explaining the July 31, 2012 amendments concerning requests for transfer from criminal proceedings to juvenile proceedings published with the Courts Order at 42 Pa.B. 5340 (August 18, 2012).
Final Report explaining the May 2, 2013 amendments concerning notice of consequences of failing to appear published the Courts Order at 43 Pa.B. 2710 (May 18, 2013).
The provisions of this Rule 571 amended November 17, 2000, effective January 1, 2001, 30 Pa.B. 6183; amended May 10, 2002, effective September 1, 2002, 32 Pa.B. 2582; amended March 3, 2004, effective July 1, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 1547; amended August 24, 2004, effective August 1, 2005, 34 Pa.B. 5016; amended May 1, 2007, effective September 4, 2007, 37 Pa.B. 2496; amended July 31, 2012, effective November 1, 2012, 42 Pa.B. 5333; amended May 2, 2013, effective June 1, 2013, 43 Pa.B. 2704. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (363584) to (363586).
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