How does the state's attorney's office decide whether to file charges?

The State's Attorney's Office has complete and sole discretion in the charging process. The State's Attorney and the Assistant State's Attorneys review police reports to determine whether a criminal offense has been committed and whether the crime may be proved in court. There must be substantial evidence sufficient to convict the accused before the State's Attorney's Office will subject someone to a criminal prosecution. Many times there is no question that the law has been violated, but charges are not filed because the proof or evidence is lacking. The State's Attorney will work with the police and crime victim to assure that a complete investigation has been done. If there is still insufficient evidence or proof, the charge cannot be filed and the State's Attorney's Office will notify the victim and police that a decision not to prosecute has been made. This closes the case unless new information is received.

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1. What should I do if I am a victim of a crime?
2. How does the state's attorney's office decide whether to file charges?
3. What if charges are filed?
4. When will I be called to appear as a witness?
5. Will there always be a trial?
6. Are all trials by jury?
7. What happens after a defendant is convicted at trial or pleads guilty?
8. Do I need an attorney?
9. How will I be notified about the case?
10. Will I have to take off from work to appear in court?
11. How will I get to the courthouse in Whiteside?
12. What if I am threatened in connection with the case?
13. What if the defense attorney or the defendant contacts me about the case?
14. How do I get items held as evidence returned to me?
15. Will I receive restitution or compensation for property loss and injuries?
16. Will I be notified of what happens to the defendant in a case where I am the victim?
17. What if I need more information or a question answered?