If someone has committed a criminal offense against another person, generally it’s the victim who wants to press charges to get justice. In contrast with civil offenses, pressing criminal charges can be quite difficult. Unlike civil lawsuits where the victim is able to directly file charges against the person who committed an offense, criminal lawsuits can only be filled by the prosecutor’s office.
Although, you can influence the prosecutor’s decision to press charges with the help of an experienced criminal appeal lawyer. If you are looking to press charges against someone, we have compiled some of the most common aspects of pressing criminal charges
Only a Prosecutor Can Press Charges in a Criminal Lawsuit
As mentioned earlier, only the prosecutor’s office has the power to file criminal charges against the accused. Depending on the nature of the offense and the circumstances of the case, you can certain steps to influence the prosecutor’s decision to press charges. Your chances of success increase exponentially if you have a proficient appeal lawyer to build a cogent and legally sound argument.
File a Police Report
The first and foremost thing to do in most cases is to file a police report, including as much information as you can about the nature of the crime and the identity of the person who did committed it. You can consult an experienced lawyer to ensure your police report is properly filed.
Your police report will initiate police investigation against the accused and if the police are able to gather substantial evidence and/or credible witnesses, they would have strong grounds (probable cause) to procure an arrest warrant. Essentially probable cause entails two conclusions – one that a crime occurred and the suspect is the one who committed it.
Collect & Preserve Evidence
In order to press criminal charges against someone, you would need reliable and admissible evidence to support your case. According to experienced criminal lawyers, many people tend to underestimate the significance of collecting and preserving evidence and therefore fail in their attempts to press charges.
Supporting evidence for pressing charges can include:
Cooperating With Police & Prosecutors
Cooperating with the investigators and prosecutors is an integral aspect of the whole process. Without your full cooperation and assistance, the prosecutors will not be able to find enough grounds to successfully press charges. Especially, if you are the main witness against the suspect, your cooperation becomes even more significant. At times, the prosecutor may want to press charges even if you have decided not to press charges. If you have a good lawyer, s/he will also advise you to meet the criteria and cooperate fully with the prosecutor.
Statues of Limitations
Last but the most important aspect of initiating a process to press criminal charges – statutes of limitations. In many instances, people do not immediately think of filing a police report or pursue a course of action to press charges – as is your right. But in most cases, there is a limited time period within which you have to make your decision and file a report. The statutes of limitations vary upon the nature of the crime and the state it was committed in. It’s generally between 1 – 5 years. That means you need to report the crime as soon as you can to exercise your right to justice.
If you are on the fence regarding filling a police report, it can be helpful to consult with local, experienced criminal appeal lawyer with good credentials.
At Brown Stone Law we have a team of skilled criminal lawyers that can handle your case with perfection. Give us a call now to get consultancy from experts
Speak with an appellate lawyer.