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Can the victim of a violent crime, pro se, request the court to upgrade charges?

Chicago, IL |

I am the victim of a violent crime. The DA will not listen to my story or even return my call, but is requiring me to testify. I believe due to the "stature" of the perp, charges have been set at the minimum battery level. A weapon was used, and recovered at the scene with in minutes, and both myself, bleeding, and the perp were also at the scene when the police arrived. There were no other witnesses to the crime. The perp had an opportunity to clean the weapon, and themself, prior to the police arrival. While the police was photographing me, etc. the perp was whisked away. There are additional cases stemming from this as well. I believe that sufficient evidence exists to upgrade. This is aging, so I believe it is close to trial. I may not have the benefit of consul.

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Attorney answers 6




These decisions are the prosecutor's to make.

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One of the best sources of information on this topic is thru the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

See link below:

The victim of a crime, when making a victim impact statement, may effectively impress the court at the sentencing phase, resulting in more severe consequences for the offender.

The information provided here should not be construed to be formal legal advice. The provision of this general advice does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Persons with legal questions are encouraged to seek independent counsel for advice regarding their individual legal issues.


You should insist on speaking to the asst. state's attorney handling your case, or a representative from the office. It is up to the SAO to decide how to charge. As a private citizen, you do not have the authority, with or without an attorney, to upgrade charges. All you can do is ask. As a practical matter, you need to understand that victims are witnesses in criminal cases. The State is actually the party. If it would help you, go consult with a criminal defense attorney. Most do provide free consultations.



Ms. Goldstein, Thank you for the insite. The State's attorney office keeps shoving me off to the victim's advocate group. They assisted in filing the emergency OP. It was not the nature of the case, but the shear fear exhibited by myself that the office begrudgingly let me stand up in front of the judge, as opposed to letting it die as they were hoping. I was able to demonstrate to the judge sufficiently that the threat was still there, and that removal of the protection would be very detrimental to myself. There seems to be be pressure through the office to squash this. The continued existance of this case has made the papers and possibly is making some ripples in the community. I may have to turn to the feds with this. To reiterate my point from earlier, I was asking if it is possible to request the court upgrade the charges. Better stated may have been if the court can request the state's attorney to review the charges filed?

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein


The court has no authority to seek an upgrade of the charges. The state will charge what it feels the evidence will show. Furthermore, if the state sent you to the victim advocate group, the state did exactly the correct thing. You appeared before a judge for your OP. It is unclear what more you are seeking.


The court does not set the charge and has no control over what the charge will be. That is entirely within the discretion of the State's Attorney.


Such an action is within the sole discretion of the prosecutor (unless a capital crime, in which case the grand jury has charged the highest possible crime).

Educational purposes answer. | | | | | Non-privileged answer.

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