Initiation of a Criminal Case

 Initiation of a Criminal Case

A criminal case begins when charges are filed against a defendant. In a Washington State District Court, charges are initiated either by Complaint or Citation and Notice to Appear. A Complaint is a document written and signed by the prosecuting attorney, alleging that the defendant has committed certain offenses. A criminal Citation and Notice to Appear may be issued by an arresting officer or any other authorized peace officer. A criminal citation may be issued whenever a person is arrested or could have been arrested for committing a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor.

In a Washington State Superior Court, felony charges are initiated either by Indictment or by Information, filed by the prosecuting attorney. Both an Indictment and an Information are written documents alleging that a defendant has committed certain offenses. An Information is a pleading filed by the prosecuting attorney on behalf of the State, while an Indictment is a pleading issued by a grand jury following an investigation. Grand jury investigations are relatively rare; accordingly, most Superior Court criminal matters are initiated by Information.

If criminal charges have been filed against you, contact Burkhart and Burkhart.

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