Pretrial Services


The Mission of the Pretrial Services Unit is to assist the Chester County Courts in the fair administration of justice by investigating and providing recommendations concerning the bail risk of defendants; monitoring defendants released on bail supervision; and informing the Court of any violations of conditions of release. We promote community safety and return to court while honoring the constitutional presumption of innocence.
  • Depending on the Bail Authority, bail can be posted at several locations including the Clerk of Courts, a Magisterial District Judge, or at the Chester County Prison. Bail posting locations vary by time of day, day of the week and which Bail Authority set the bail.   
  • In some cases, bail must be posted by a Third Party Surety who will guarantee the defendant's appearance in court. If for any reason the defendant fails to appear for court, the bail may be forfeited and the Third Party Surety must pay the full amount of bail to the County.
  • Once released on bail, the defendant is required to call the Clerk of Courts within 48 hours of release. 
  • At the completion of the case (final disposition), 60% of the bail deposit is returned to the Surety. For example, if $1,000 10% bail is set, the deposit is $100 to post bail. At final disposition, $60 is returned to the Surety by the Clerk of Courts of Chester County.

The Guiding Principles

Guiding Principle One - The Constitutional Presumption of Innocence

The constitutional presumption of innocence of the pretrial defendant should lead to: The least restrictive release consistent with community safety and return to court; and preventive detention only as a last resort based on a judicial determination of the risk of non-appearance in court and/or danger to any person or to the community.


Guiding Principle Two - Non-Financial Conditions of Release

Non-financial conditional release, based on the history, characteristics, and reliability of the defendant, is more effective than financial release conditions.  Reliance on money bail discriminates against indigent defendants and cannot effectively address the need for release conditions that protect the public.

Guiding Principle Three - Pro-Social Interventions

Pro-social interventions that address substance abuse and mental health issues afford defendants the opportunity for personal improvement and decrease the likelihood of criminal behavior.

Guiding Principle Four - Innovation, Effective Use of Technology, and the Development of Human Capital

Innovation, effective use of technology, and the development of human capital lead to organizational excellence, transparency, high professional and ethical standards, and accountability to the public.