Blair County Criminal Defense

When someone is accused of a crime, charges are filed in the county in which the alleged crime occurred. The defendant's place of residence, even if they reside in a different Pennsylvania county or even another state, doesn't matter.

Being accused of a crime can be stressful and have a serious implication on your life. It puts your livelihood, your career, and your future at risk. Understanding the basic procedure can help alleviate some uncertainty. If you've been accused of a crime in Blair County or Pennsylvania, the LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help you. We can explain your options, build a defense, and advocate for you throughout the process. Call us at 888-535-3686 or fill out our online form.

Courts in Blair County

Pennsylvania has multiple levels of courts. For criminal cases, the first courts that you encounter will be either:

  • The Court of Common Pleas
  • The minor courts, known as the Magisterial District Courts

Blair County has a countywide Court of Common Pleas. The county has six magisterial districts.

Blair County Magisterial Districts

There are six magisterial districts within Blair County. These courts are often the first encounter you will have with Pennsylvania's court system.

Half of the magisterial district offices for Blair County are located in Altoona. If you're scheduled to appear before one of them, you should check to make sure you have the correct address.

If you're unsure of which court you're scheduled to attend, you should contact the Magisterial District Courts' administrative office to check and make sure you have the right information. Appearing at a hearing or other court meeting is important. Failure to appear or arriving late can reflect badly on you and potentially create more problems for you. That you disagree with the charges is irrelevant: You need to show up at court.

The office for Magisterial District 24-3-02, which covers the majority of Blair County, is:

5929 California Avenue

Altoona, PA 16602

The office for Magisterial District 24-1-02 is:

2601 Fifth Avenue

Altoona, PA 16602

The office for Magisterial District 24-1-03 is:

615 Fourth Street

Altoona, PA 16602

The office for Magisterial District 24-3-03 is:

311 Union Street

Hollidaysburg, PA

The office for Magisterial District 24-3-01 is:

5628 East Pleasant Valley Blvd.

Tyrone, PA

The office for Magisterial District 24-3-04 is:

310 Airport Dr., Suite 9 Martinsburg, PA

Magisterial district judges have the following responsibilities for criminal matters:

  • Oversee arraignments
  • Set bail
  • Conduct preliminary criminal hearings

The magisterial district courts generally handle minor criminal offenses. Summary offenses, traffic and non-traffic citations, some misdemeanors, and petty offenses generally fall under their jurisdiction.

Blair County Court of Common Pleas

Pennsylvania has sixty districts for its Court of Common Pleas. The majority of these are within a county's geographical district. These courts are trial courts and handle criminal cases within Blair County. They will also hear any appeals for the Magisterial Courts located within the county.

In Blair County, the Court of Common Pleas is located in the Blair County Courthouse. The courthouse is located at:

423 Allegheny Street

Hollidaysburg, PA

The court handles both criminal and civil matters. For criminal matters, its responsibilities cover any alleged violation of state, court, or local criminal laws. These include:

  • Homicide and manslaughter
  • Assault
  • Sex crimes
  • DUIs
  • Drug crimes
  • Burglary
  • Theft
  • Domestic violence that violates criminal law

In general, the Court of Common Pleas hears all cases involving felonies and some involving misdemeanors. Those who disagree with the outcome of their trial may appeal.

Plea Bargains

All individuals are entitled to their day in court. Some may choose to avoid court and accept a plea bargain.

A plea bargain is a compromise between the defendant and the prosecution or district attorney. A defense attorney and prosecutor negotiate a plea bargain, which often involves a defendant pleading guilty or no contest to a lesser charge and leniency in sentencing.

The downside of a plea bargain is a defendant can't appeal a plea bargain after they accept it. It will also still show up on a criminal background check.

Levels of Criminal Offenses

In Pennsylvania, criminal charges generally fall into one of three classifications. These are summary offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies. Both misdemeanors and felonies have multiple degrees, and if you're found guilty, the classification plays a role in what guidelines are used for sentencing.

Summary Offenses

A summary offense is the least serious of the three. Individuals convicted of a summary offense cannot be imprisoned for more than ninety days but will usually pay a fine. Summary offenses may appear on criminal background checks.


Misdemeanors are more serious than summary offenses and less serious than felonies. Individuals may face prison and/or fines if convicted.

Pennsylvania recognizes three degrees of misdemeanors. A misdemeanor in the third degree is the least severe, and a misdemeanor in the first degree is the most serious. Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor cannot be imprisoned for more than five years and may be liable for fines of up to $10,000.


Felonies are the most serious of the three criminal offenses. Similar to misdemeanors, the severity of any punishment depends on the degree.

The most serious offense is murder of the first or second degree, which, if found guilty, carries a mandatory sentence of either life imprisonment or a death sentence. In comparison, an individual guilty of a felony in the first degree faces imprisonment of up to twenty years and a maximum $25,000 fine, and a felony in the third-degree caps imprisonment at not more than seven years and fines at not more than $15,000.

Types of Criminal Offenses in Blair County

Charges not only determine how an alleged crime is classified but also the best types of defenses to use during the process. Guilt must be beyond a reasonable doubt for a judge or jury to convict, and defenses may lessen charges and/or result in an acquittal.

At their base, defenses are the defendant's version of events. A defense may add context or explain why a defendant acted in a certain way, and the general goal of a defense is to explain or excuse a defendant's behavior. For example, in a homicide case, Pennsylvania allows certain defenses when protecting property.

An arson charge provides another example. In an arson case, Pennsylvania requires that the prosecution show that a fire was either intentionally or recklessly set. If a defendant can show the fire was an accident that wasn't the result of recklessness, you may be acquitted or receive a more lenient sentence.

Protect Your Future

If you're facing criminal charges in Blair County, the LLF Law Firm Criminal Defense Team can help. Call us at 888-535-3686 or fill out our online form.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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