Prosecution Overview

Felony & Misdemeanor Cases
The St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is the only authority in the county to prosecute violations of state criminal laws. Those criminal violations range from misdemeanors to murders and are almost all codified in Title XXXVIII of the Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri.
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Beginning Stages
At the beginning of a criminal case, prosecutors work with police officers to seek arrest warrants and search warrants from judges who review the criminal investigation to ensure there is probable cause for the search or the arrest. Under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Missouri, a citizen charged with a crime has the right to be represented by an attorney, to be tried by a jury, to question and examine the evidence against him and to remain silent during police questioning and the trial.

Prior to proceeding to trial, a judge or a grand jury must review the case to ensure that the evidence supports probable cause to believe the accused committed the crime charged. At a jury trial, the Prosecuting Attorney's Office must prove the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Upon conviction a criminal may be sentenced to a fine, to probation, to incarceration or to some combination of those options.

Careful Discretion
Prosecuting attorneys exercise careful discretion in determining whether to charge someone with a criminal offense. Even if a crime can be proven, prosecutors may decide not to pursue criminal charges if the facts do not merit criminal prosecution or if there is a viable alternative to prosecution.

Upon the charging of a crime, the prosecutor will provide all of his evidence to the attorney for the accused so that he may understand the case against him and prepare any defense. The accused may then opt to plead guilty or to proceed to trial. Should the accused decide to plead guilty, his attorney and the prosecutor will negotiate a sentence or defer that decision to a judge.

Victim Rights
Though prosecutors do not have an attorney-client relationship with victims or witnesses, prosecutors certainly seek to make the criminal justice system as painless as possible for those who have been affected by crime. The Constitution of the State of Missouri provides crime victims with rights to restitution of certain costs of crime, and to be notified about and allowed to participate in many criminal proceedings.

Accomplishing justice and restoring a sense of security for crime victims is a top priority of the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The professionals who work in the Prosecuting Attorney's Office are servants of the public and are committed to maintaining safety and security in our community.