Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
Checklist and Instructions for Unrepresented/Pro se Defendants to file a Motion for Continuance
If you have not hired a Private Attorney, qualified for a Public Defender, been appointed counsel by the court or otherwise had an attorney file a Praecipe of Appearance on your case, you are considered a pro se defendant. If you choose to represent yourself and are not ready to resolve your case on the next trial date or you wish to obtain counsel but need additional time to do so, you can request a postponement from the Court. If you fail to obtain an attorney or choose to represent yourself, you will be required to follow all Court Rules, including any Orders issued by the Court.
You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free counsel by the Office of the Public Defender.
As an unrepresented defendant, you must complete the Case Status Conference requirement and provide the required information on the Motion for Continuance Form as stated below.
- You must complete a required Case Status Conference with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to your case. This must be done at least one week before your next court date. During that meeting you will discuss possible resolutions, trial issues, postponement necessity and case scheduling.
- The motion for continuance form requires the entry of the name of the Assistant District Attorney assigned to your case and whether they have consented or objected to your request for continuance.
- The motion for continuance form requires the entry of your Criminal Court Docket Number (ex: CP-02-CR-00XXXX-XXXX)
- The motion for continuance also requires the entry of the primary criminal charge you are facing, and the name of the Judge assigned to your case.
- You will need to provide your reason for the request for a continuance
Checklist and Instructions for Attorneys to file a Motion for Continuance
After the required Case Status Conference with opposing counsel, if a postponement is being requested by either party the following is the process to file a motion for a continuance.
- Defense Counsel’s appearance must be entered on behalf of the Defendant.
- You must have the following information before submitting your postponement request:
- Defendant’s name, docket number(s) and lead charge.
- The Judge assigned.
- The name of Opposing Counsel assigned to the case.
- If opposing counsel consents or objects to the postponement request.
- Defendant’s consent (if Defense Counsel is the moving party.
- Previous postponement information.
- Reason for Motion for Continuance.
- Three trial dates agreed upon by both parties, to submit to the court for consideration.
- Once complete, the submission for the postponement will be forwarded to the assigned Judge for review
- Once the Motion for Continuance has been Granted or Denied by the Court, both parties will be notified via email or by phone.
- If Granted, the Defense Attorney will make arrangements with Court Staff for the defendant to sign a new Subpoena or to have counsel sign on his behalf using the approved protocol for telephone verification.
- A copy of the Granted or Denied postponement form will be sent to both parties via mail or email.