Many people think that arrest and prosecution are one in the same but this is far from the truth. Police officers and prosecution may seemingly work together, but they are actually working for different causes in the criminal justice system. The police officers make the arrest based on probable cause, and prosecutors only file formal charges when they believe they can prove a suspect guilty. Prosecutors also have the ability to look further into the defendant’s history, such as determining the past criminal record, the circumstances surrounding the case, and more. So how does prosecution decide which cases to charge?

Using Police Reports 

Police will typically send arrest reports to the prosecution so that prosecutors can make better decisions regarding initial charging decisions. After an arrest is made, an arrest report will almost always follow. Some of the details in these reports include dates, time, location, weather conditions, and more. However, sometimes they must be taken at face value because they only show one side – the police’s side. They may not always be admissible in trial. The prosecutor may be able to use this report as a way to determine what charges should be filed, how much bail should be required, the outcome of hearings, and many other factors.

Political Pressure 

Because prosecutors are elected officials and their every move is being watched, they become a matter of public opinion. To gain favor by local store owners, then, prosecutors may choose to file charges for every shoplifting case. This is why, sometimes, prosecutors act on which charges will help their careers move forward. Attorneys understand how prosecutors may have a strong front, but that they may be willing to respond to weakness later in the case. There are many benefits to having an experienced defense attorney on your side, so find out how we can help in your case.