Once a crime has been committed, a police investigation will follow. The District Attorney’s Office does not initiate investigations. If you believe a crime has been committed, you should call 911. The police agency will then conduct an investigation to determine if there is sufficient evidence to file charges and make an arrest. The police agency will determine whether a defendant should be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony based upon the evidence and the applicable law.
Following an arrest, the defendant will be arraigned on the appropriate charge(s). At arraignment, the court will determine whether bail should be set, and if so, in what amount. When appropriate, the court will issue a temporary Order of Protection. The court will then schedule another court date for the defendant to appear with their attorney. All questions regarding court dates and scheduling of court dates should be directed to the court. (For a list of courts and their contact information, please click here.)
If the defendant is charged with a felony, the arraigning court may schedule a preliminary hearing to determine if probable cause exists for a felony level charge. If the court determines there is sufficient evidence, the case will either be presented to the grand jury for indictment or a plea agreement may be reached. If an indictment is filed, a plea agreement may still be reached, or the matter will proceed to trial.
For either misdemeanor or felony charges, the assigned Assistant District Attorney will discuss the case with the victim. If the case goes to trial, the ADA will explain the court process. If a guilty verdict is reached after trial, or if a plea has been entered, the court will determine what sentence to impose. For all felonies, and some misdemeanors, the court will have the probation department prepare a pre-sentence investigation before sentence is imposed.
In order for the DA’s Office to fully represent a victim’s interests, the assigned ADA needs to be able to speak with the victim. If you are a victim, please provide the assigned ADA with any changes in your address and/or telephone number.