The Magisterial District Courts are part of the Commonwealth’s unified judicial system governed by rules and regulations promulgated by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. President Judge John D. McBride exercises general and administrative supervision over the Magisterial District Judges.
There are eight magisterial districts located throughout Beaver County. Each district is served by a District Judge who has been elected to a six year term.
Magisterial District Judges have jurisdiction over minor criminal offenses (also called summary offenses), traffic violations, landlord / tenant matters and other civil actions, such as contract disputes, where the amount of damages sought does not exceed $12,000.00. In misdemeanor and felony cases, District Judges have the authority to issue arrest and search warrants, hold preliminary arraignments, set bail and preside over preliminary hearings. They also may issue emergency Protection from Abuse orders and subpoenas.
In Beaver County, preliminary hearings in criminal cases involving felony and misdemeanor charges are not conducted in the individual magisterial district courts, but at the Beaver County Courthouse as part of the Central Court system. Each of the eight District Judges presides for a week at a time on a rotating basis. The District Judges are also assigned to a rotating schedule of night and weekend duty in order to comply with the Pennsylvania Rules of Court which require that an issuing authority be available at all times.
Please see the website of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts at www.pacourts.us which contains official downloadable forms for civil complaints, landlord / tenant actions and private criminal complaints, as well as other information on Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System.