FAQs about Criminal Complaints

Why do I need to sign complaints to have someone arrested? Whenever someone is arrested for committing a crime there must be a complainant that signs the criminal complaint. This complaint will explain what crime was committed, when and where the crime was committed and is signed by either the victim or a witness. In some cases a police officer will be the complainant, but there are cases in which the victim and/or witness needs to sign the criminal complaint in order to arrest and charge the offender.
    What if I don’t sign a complaint? In cases where a citizen is the complainant without a signed complaint the police can not make an arrest and must usually release the offender without charging.
    What if I don’t show up to court? Even after the complainant signs the criminal complaint to have the offender arrested they must appear in court. If a complainant fails to show up in court the charges against the offender will be dropped.
    What if I’m afraid to go to court? The 19th District has a group of citizen volunteers who are Court Advocates and will support victims. They will accompany victims to court that might otherwise not go because they are intimidated or fearful. In some cases an officer from the 19th District CAPS office will accompany the victim and Court Advocates.

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