Courts & Criminal Justice

York County Justice Center

Courts & Criminal Justice

Welcome to the Courts & Criminal Justice page. Please take a minute to explore these pages and learn more about York County’s role in ensuring civil and criminal justice.

Below you'll find summaries outlining of the judicial process in both criminal and civil cases. If you're looking for a specific court or court-related department, please click here. Additional resources are available in the menu at left. 

Please click here to look up criminal case docket sheets through the state's database. It includes records from the York County Court of Common Please and local magisterial district judges. 

Please click here to access the York County Prothonotary's Civil Case lookup

Criminal Cases

Magisterial District Judges determine guilt or innoncence regarding summary charges, fish, game and dog law violations and violations of city, borough or township ordinances. Rulings are subject to appeal to the York County Court of Common Pleas.

The Magisterial District Judges also hear complaints in felony and misdemeanor cases and determine whether a prima facie case has been shown by the prosecutor. If it has, the Judge orders the defendant held for court in the York County Court of Common Pleas. If a prima facie case has not been proven to his/her satisfaction, the Judge will discharge the defendant

If the defendant is bound over to court, the case proceeds before the York County Court of Common Pleas. Criminal cases are generally prosecuted by the York County District Attorney’s Office. Defendants without the means to pay for their own criminal defense may be eligible for representation by the Public Defender’s Office.

Defendants found guilty of a crime and sentenced to incarceration for less than two years are typically housed in the York County Prison. Those sentenced to longer terms are typically housed in state prisons.

Civil Cases

Civil cases can be heard by the Magisterial District Courts and the Court of Common Pleas. The jurisdiction of Magisterial District Judges in civil matters includes suits involving as much as $12,000. District Judges also have jurisdiction over matters such as landlord and tenant cases. The Court of Common Pleas hears cases involving more than $12,000. Magisterial District Judge decisions in cases involving smaller amounts are subject to appeal in the Court of Common Pleas.

Matters involving guardianships, marriage licenses, adoptions, birth and death records, and estates of decedents are handled by the York County Clerk of the Orphans’ Court.

All civil and criminal matters, other than matters that by statute are heard by District Judges or in the Orphan's Court Division, are heard in the civil or criminal divisions of the Court of Common Pleas.

To learn more about York County’s Criminal Justice system, please select from the menu at left.