The Suspect is Age 18 or Over and there is Sufficient Evidence for an Arrest
Following the police investigation, and once the police have enough evidence, they may start the arrest process by filling out and taking a criminal complaint and affidavit of probable cause to the Magisterial District Judge (MDJ). If the MDJ determines there is enough evidence that the suspect committed the crime, the MDJ may give the police an arrest warrant
for the suspect
Depending on the severity of the crime, the police may arrest a suspect without a warrant and later file the criminal complaint with the MDJ later. The criminal complaint lists the name and address of the suspect, the crimes he/she is charged with and has a short summary on the reasons the charges were filed.
If the police decide not to file a criminal complaint, a person is allowed to file a private complaint on their own. However, the District Attorney's (DA) office must first approve the private complaint before it can go further. Once approved, the legal process is the same as if the criminal complaint was filed by a police officer.
Once the complaint is filed, the MDJ will issue either a summons or an arrest warrant, depending on the seriousness of the offense. Less serious cases move ahead with a summons, which gives the date, time and location of the preliminary hearing. Crimes that are more serious use an arrest warrant.
The Suspect is Arrested