Filing Criminal Charges in Oklahoma
Hi, I’m Stuart Ericson, an attorney in Wagoner, Oklahoma. So how do criminal charges get filed? So a couple of ways. Number one is a criminal complaint presented to the police department. People want to reach out to the police, be interviewed by police, and have evidence. So in that case, the police would investigate. They would produce, ultimately, once they’ve investigated, if they believe a crime was committed, they’ll produce a police report. That report, and again, there’s no arrest at this point, they produce a police report. They will send it to the district attorney’s office because that’s the office that makes the criminal charges.
So some assistant DA will review the charges if they think a crime was committed and that person did it. They will decide what the charges are, and again, it’s the district attorney’s office that decides what charges to file. The police report may recommend filing it this way, this way, that way, and the DA’s office may go, no, this is the actual crime here. So that’s how things actually get filed. And then in that scenario, once it’s filed, they’ll take it to a judge to sign off and get a bench warrant or an arrest warrant, and then a warrant will be out for your arrest.
What Happens Next?
They may not always just come and track you down, it kind of depends upon the crime. Your warrant may be out until someday you get pulled over on a speeding ticket, and you get pulled over and they go, hey, there’s a warrant out for your arrest, and then all of a sudden you’re dealing with criminal charges, so that’s when you call an attorney.
The other scenario is when law enforcement is an eyewitness to a crime and makes an arrest or has probable cause to believe a felony was committed, and then they can effectuate an arrest. Now in that case, that’s where you’re probably going to want to exercise your right to remain silent. You will be arrested, taken to jail, a bond will be set, and then you either bond out or you don’t. If you don’t bond out, they may offer you a public defender, of course, you can still hire a private attorney like me, but once you bond out, you’ll get a court appearance, have an initial appearance, and then your case starts.
Understanding the Process
So there’s always some confusion about who’s the director of it, so yeah, of course, the police are the ones that do the investigation and start it, but it’s really up to the district attorney’s office to determine what the charges are and whether or not to file. So sometimes there’s a delay, obviously, between an arrest, and by the time that police report gets to the DA’s office. So sometimes there’s a delay, and people can be confused by that. So a lot of different scenarios, but generally you’re arrested right then and there, or you’re accused of a crime without maybe you even knowing it, and an investigation is going on, and then they submit it to the DA’s office, and get a warrant kind of on the back end. So that’s the two main ways that criminal charges get started.
Ready to Take Action?
If you have any questions about that, reach out to me, Stuart Ericson at wagonerlawyer.com. We offer a free consultation to discuss your case and provide guidance.