Frequently Asked Questions

 I am a victim in a criminal case. Is it necessary for me to retain a lawyer to represent me in the criminal case?

​As a victim, you are part of the Commonwealth case.  The Commonwealth case is represented by an attorney from the District Attorney's Office.  An Assistant District Attorney will represent that case in all criminal proceedings.

 How do I know if I am eligible for the PA victims compensation fund?

​You must meet these requirements to be eligible:
  • The crime occurred in Pennsylvania.
  • The crime must be reported within 72 hours.
  • The victim must co-operate with law enforcement and the courts.
  • The claim must be filed within one year.
  • The victim has not engaged in an illegal activity. (Exceptions are made for child abuse filings.)
  • Minimum loss requirements are met.
    • If under age 60...$100.  Total qualifying out of pocket expenses, or a loss of at least 2 or more continuous week's earnings.
    • If over age minimum out of pocket loss.

 If eligible, what expenses may be paid by the PA victims compensation fund?

​A. A Maximum Award of $35,000.00 may be paid with limits for death or any one injury.
B. Medical Expenses - medical, dental, and other expenses related to the injury.
C. Counseling - if the crime results in death, the spouse, parents, or siblings who (at the time of the crime) lived in the same house as the victim.  In other crimes, compensation for counseling covers only victims.
D. Loss of Earnings - If deprived of earnings as a result of injuries received in a crime incident, you may be paid for such loss provided all requirements are met.  If deprived of support due to the death of a victim as a result of a crime incident, you may be eligible for compensation.
E. Cash Loss of Benefits - If Social Security, veteran's retirement, railroad retirement, pension/retirement, disability, or court ordered child/spousal support is the main source of income and the loss occurs through robbery, assault, rape, homicide, kidnapping, or burglary, you may be compensated within certain limits.
F. Funeral Expenses - If you paid or are liable to pay the funeral bill for a deceased victim, you may be compensated for your loss, within certain limits.
G. What expenses will NOT be reimbursed to victims?
1. Pain and suffering
2. Stolen or damaged property
3. Auto-related injuries unless inflicted in a DUI crash or by a vehicle used as a weapon.

 I have received a bad check. What must I do to bring a criminal prosecution?

​A. Contact your local police and ask for their assistance.  If they will help, you must cooperate with them completely and attend all court hearings; or...
B.  If the police can not get involved, you must be able to establish the following if you want to file a private Criminal Complaint:
      1.  You received a check from a known party for the payment of money.
      2. The check can not be post-dated when received
      3. You must be able to identify the maker of the check as the person who presented it to you.
      4. You must deposit the check with your bank for payment within thirty (30) days of receipt.
      5. The check must be returned to you by your bank with a notation, NSF, Account Closed, No Such Account, or Counterfeit.
      6. You must give written notice to the maker of the check by certified mail, return receipt requested, 
      7. That the check was dishonored, and giving that person ten (10) days from receipt of the notice to make good on the check or face criminal prosecution.
If you meet all of the above conditions, you may be able to file a Private Criminal Complaint for a Bad Check through the office of the District Justice in your area.
Bad check charges are heard in the local District Justice Offices as Summary Offenses if the face amount of the check is less than $200.00 or the person has less than three (3) prior Bad Check convictions in a five year period.
Otherwise, a Bad Check charge is heard as a Misdemeanor of Felony through the court of Common Pleas.
Note:  Third party checks and post-dated checks do not qualify as Bad Checks for Criminal Prosecution. Additionally, the law does allow a person who receives a bad check to seek a service charge not to exceed $20.00 if notice of such charge is conspicuously posted at your premises at the time the check was issued.

 Do you have more questions?

Contact the District Attorney's office
and we will be happy to help you
Phone: (724) 773-8550
Fax: (724) 728-0710