Before a criminal case can be filed, there has to be a police report submitted. This is read by the prosecutor, who will decide if the matter needs to lead to criminal charges. The prosecutor can alternatively ask the grand jury to make the decision, asking what charges need to be filed. After this, a preliminary hearing is held by the judge, where they will decide if the matter should proceed. This usually relates to how much evidence is available, and whether there really is any case to pursue.
Charges must generally be filed within around two or three days, by the prosecutor. Since they need to make a decision so quickly, the actual charges might change over a length of time.
Arrest and Police Report
If someone has been arrested, they cannot be charged with a crime immediately. First, the police must create the aforementioned police report, which is given to the prosecutor. The details that lead up to the person’s arrest are recorded in the report, as well as information about the actual arrest. This includes things like the time and date of the arrest, where it happened, who was there to witness it, etc.
The Prosecutor and Prosecution Office
A prosecutor has a lot of freedom when it comes to whether or not charges should be filed. They are also able to decide what types of charges should be made upon a person. The prosecutor can use the information in the report to make a further decision. They can file the police complaint and begin the process of criminal charges with the court. As mentioned, they can also ask the grand jury to make a decision regarding possible charges, and if there should be any brought about. Finally, the prosecutor can decide that the matter should not be pursued any further.
When making decisions about prosecution, political matters are often on the minds of prosecutors. Many of them desire political positions. They understand that the cases they choose to pursue will affect how the community views them. This might lead them to go after certain crimes more passionately, even when the evidence is not strong. If there is a lot of outcry from the community about a particular case, there is a higher chance that it will be pursued. Failing to do so might give the community a bad impression of the prosecutor, as well as the legal system as a whole.
Prosecution offices also have their own guidelines about the crimes that should be pursued. They might consider certain types of crimes more important than others, and this will naturally affect the decisions of individual prosecutors. Their own personal opinions about justice, and their beliefs, will also influence their decisions. It is impossible for any person to be completely objective, no matter how righteous their motivations are. They might choose to pursue cases that outrage them on a personal basis, or overlook other cases where they feel justice will take place naturally.