You’ve been arrested and then released. The police officer told you that you did something wrong, but you’re not sure what. You don’t know if you have been charged with a crime, after all the officer did not take you to see a Judge. Now what?
The answer to that question requires a little background. When a police officer believes that a crime has been committed, that officer will make an arrest and write a report. At that point, you have not been charged with a crime. The report is then sent to the District Attorney’s Office for review. If the District Attorney’s Office believes that a crime has been committed, and they want to file the case, then they will file it with the court. At that point, you have been officially charged with a crime.
In some cases, usually when a serious crime has been committed or you have a long criminal history, the police will keep you in jail until the District Attorney’s Office is able to review the police report. However, the District Attorney’s Office only has 48 hours to review the case before the police must release you. Because the District Attorney’s Office does not have enough staff to review every report in 48 hours, most people are released if they have not already posted bail. When that happens, the District Attorney’s Office puts your case in the long line of cases to review. As the District Attorney’s Office has up to a year to file a misdemeanor case, and usually three years to file a felony, you can be left in limbo for a long time!
Not knowing whether you will be charged with a crime creates anxiety, but it also presents an opportunity. There’s an old saying: “It’s easier to stop the train at the station than on the tracks.” A criminal case is no different. It is much harder to get a case dismissed after it has already been filed with the court than before it has been filed. For a District Attorney to dismiss a case after it has already been filed, they must tell the Judge in front of the public, defense attorneys, and other defendants present, that they are dismissing the case. The District Attorney’s Office does not want to have to dismiss a case as that tells everyone else that they made a mistake, which is embarrassing. On the other hand, if the District Attorney never files the case, it saves them resources and embarrassment.
At the Oriole Law Group, we know how the criminal justice system works. We have decades of experience handling criminal cases. If your case has not yet been filed, or you’re not sure, we are able to help. We will defend your case and work to stop the District Attorney’s Office from filing it. Contact us today and we’ll show you how we can get your life back on track.