How Do You File Charges Against Someone?

To press charges against another person, contact the police as soon as possible, as noted by Nolo. If the crime is recent and the perpetrator is still at the scene of the crime, the arrest may occur immediately. An arrest must occur before the police or the prosecutor's office can press charges against the accused.

There are many factors that contribute to whether an individual faces charges, as Nolo explains. A police officer must obtain a warrant if the accused individual was not at the scene of the crime in order for an arrest to take place, and for that to happen, the police must have enough evidence of probable cause before asking the judge for the warrant.

Evidence comes in the form of victim statements, eye-witnesses, statements from the accused, records of evidence and assessments of any injuries, as described by Nolo. If the crime was a petty crime or a misdemeanor, the charges can be filed in court, and the defendant must answer to the crime. If the crime is a felony, a prosecutor reviews the police report to make a determination as to whether there's enough evidence to prove the case. It's possible for the authorities to drop the charges if the evidence does not prove sufficient.