Screening & Charging
When a law enforcement agency investigates a criminal offense and determines there are possible grounds for charges, the agency will forward a copy of the offense report to our office for review. Depending upon the investigative effort required and the resources available to the investigating agency, there may be a significant passage of time between the occurrence of the event and receipt of the offense report by our office. However, most offense reports are forwarded soon after the occurrence of the event.
Law enforcement agencies assign case numbers to their cases for identification and tracking purposes. Our office uses these same case numbers to identify and track each case during the review stage. If you have been a victim in a case and you contact our office, be sure to provide this case number, along with the suspect’s name, so that we can assist you more quickly. Offense reports are logged when received and at the time, victims are notified that our office has received the report. The case is then assigned to a Charge Team consisting of an attorney and a paralegal. Case reviews are based on the consideration of several factors, including:
- Whether the allegations appear to be valid
- Whether the reported conduct is in fact a violation of any criminal laws and whether the conduct itself, and/or the purported injury or loss, are sufficient to justify charges
- Whether the quantity and quality of available evidence supports any possible charges or rebuts any possible defenses
- An expected outcome, if the case were to proceed to trial
- An expected outcome for sentencing based on prior experience with similar cases in our local court system.
After a case is reviewed, our office will make one of the following charge decisions:
- Case closed – no charge
- Case returned to law enforcement for additional investigation and/or information
- Charges will be prepared and filed, including habitual offender and habitual substance offender cases
- If the offender is free on bond at the time of the new offense, a decision will be made regarding whether the offender’s prior case is subject to a Petition to Revoke Bond/Request for Additional Bond Conditions
- If the offender is on probation at the time of the new offense, the probation office will be notified of the new offense
- There will be a review of pending cases in other jurisdictions to coordinate prosecution efforts
When a charge decision has been made, our office will notify those persons identified in the police report as a victim regarding the decision.