What’s legal significance/difference in these on a criminal citation? (one checked on mine is #2)
1. served on violator
2. sent to court for mailing
3. referred to prosecutor
How do police determine which? Does ‘sent to court for mailing’ exclude a prosecutor having any opportunity to decide not to prosecute, drop charges before it goes to court? Or is that still a possible, no matter how remote?
Why does my citation read: “Did commit the following offense” if in our legal system you’re innocent until proven guilty?
And there’s choice of ‘mandatory court appearance’ or ‘bail forfeiture in US$’ mine is marked ‘mandatory court appearance.’ Does 'mandatory' absolutely erase any ability of prosecutor to decide prior to court to just drop it/not prosecute? Or can my attorney still try?I ask here because I am considering my attorney is not doing what she should and I am trying to educate myself on what is possible or not possible, depending on the rules first and how competent my attorney is second
You mention your attorney. Speak to your attorney about this. Good luck.
Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney--Former Prosecutor--Put my experience to work for you!
1, 2 or 3.: what legal significance does it make?
As a practical matter, probably no difference at all.
It is a procedural matter only and almost certainly not impact the outcome of the case.
Is there any chance that a prosecutor will decide to drop the case prior to court?
Your chances of winning a million dollar lottery are much better that the prosecutor just dropping the case prior to any court hearing.
Can my attorney still try?
Most attorney's are not going to be trying something that they know will not work. It would be a waste of their time, it will make them look like they do not know any better.
It is not likely to accomplish anything that will help you.
If you don't have confidence in your attorney than you should be thinking about getting another one.
Numbers 1-3 are procedural in nature and mainly refer to how the defendant receives notice of the charge (although there are additional meanings such as timing for arraignment and such). The Officers typically determine how based on the crime, the precinct policy, whether or not they witnessed the offense and any number of other issues.
Whether or not the prosecutor will review a file prior to the arraignment depends on the jurisdiction. Typically no, a prosecutor will not dismiss prior to the arraignment (at times at the arraignment but rarely). The term "did commit the following offense" typically is a statement from the officer - meaning it would be his or her testimony that the offense was committed by the defendant and allows the Judge to find probable cause for the case to continue. It does not mean you are guilty, that is a question for the jury should this go to trial.
An attorney can try many things, the question is will it do any good and is it in your best interest. It is common for a prosecutor to not even see a file (or have the complete report from the officer yet) before the arraignment.
If you are having this many concerns about an attorney you hired and the arraignment has not even happened yet, you need to schedule a time to meet with them and discuss your concerns. You will need to be able to trust your attorney through this process. Decide now whether or not you are with the right attorney, for you sake and theirs.
Best of Luck
Lucas D. McWethy
You are entitled to notice when charged with a crime (or infraction). "Served on violator" means the officer gave you a copy of the citation. "Sent to the court for mailing" means that the officer sent it to the court so the court could provide you notice. "Referred to the prosecutor" means the officer sent the ticket and police reports to the prosecutor to charge the crime. The police determine which route depending on the procedure of their jurisdiction. The only real relevance of these boxes to you is that the court cannot enter a default judgment on an infraction or a warrant on a criminal charge without showing that proper steps to notify you were taken.
You are being given notice that the State/City is alleging that you "did commit" the listed offense. That's it. The statement itself has no legal significance other than to give you notice of what you are being charged with. You have the right to make the prosecution prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt at trial. This sentence does not infringe on that right in any way.
"Mandatory court appearance" means this is not a situation where you can just pay a fine. You must appear in court on this type of charge. If a court date is listed you should be there.
In the end my answer is going to be the same one I gave you yesterday. (1) In officer filed jurisdictions the prosecutor rarely looks at the case until arraignment (or afterwards). (2) in prosecutor filed jurisdictions the reports are forwarded to the prosecutor who then makes a charging decision. If there is any doubt, charges are usually filed first and sorted out later. (3) If you have clear and uncontrollable evidence of your innocence (not just your word, but something that can be proven with physical evidence) an attorney may be able to contact the prosecutor and head off charges. It happens, but not very often.
If a mistake was made, and it is as obvious as you say it is, then your attorney should be able to fix this for you. HOWEVER, this often takes a lot longer to do than most people realize. Be patient, trust your lawyer, put your effort into defending your case in court and don't stress about the parts of this you have no control over (such as if and how you get charged).
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