How To File
A Criminal Complaint
If you believe you have been the victim of a crime that occurred in
Fayette County, the FIRST STEP is always to
report the matter to the Lexington Police Department. If it is an emergency,
then call 911. If it is not an emergency, then call (859) 258-3600 or go in
person to the Lexington Police Department at 150 East Main Street, Lexington,
Kentucky. The police may choose to pursue charges against the suspect.
the police do not choose to pursue charges, you may attempt to file a criminal
complaint with the Fayette County Attorney’s Office, but you must report the
matter to the Lexington Police Department first. The Fayette County Attorney
cannot initiate a criminal case unless a police report has been filed first.
It usually takes three days for police reports to be finalized, approved,
and made available to the Fayette County Attorney’s Office. We will not be able
to meet with you or evaluate your case until the police report is ready.
We ask that you call us at (859) 226-1895 to schedule
an appointment time at least three days after you report the matter to the police.
A prosecutor will speak with you about the case and will schedule a time for you
to come the Fayette County Attorney’s Office to complete the criminal complaint
process. Criminal Complaints for cases in which the suspect is over 18 years of
age are taken by appointment between 8:30 a.m.
and 3:30 p.m., at:
Fayette District Court
150 North Limestone, Room 352
(To file a criminal complaint against a person under the age of 18 years
old, you must go to the Administrative Office of the Courts, Court Designated
Worker, 155 East Main Street, Lexington, KY.)
When you come for your
appointment, please bring a valid I.D. with a picture. You will need the full
name and complete address of the person against whom you wish to file a criminal
complaint. We cannot pursue a criminal charge if we do not have this
information. A date of birth and social security number for the suspect is also
helpful. Please bring with you any medical records, restitution proof,
photographs, witness statements, or any other evidence that you have. Please do
not bring children to the appointment, unless they will be supervised by a
responsible adult while you are speaking with our staff.
appointment, we will assist you in preparing an affidavit in which you will
provide all of the information related to your criminal complaint.
affidavit will be reviewed by a prosecutor and a determination will be made if
the allegations are supported by probable cause.
If the prosecutor finds
that the allegations are supported by probable cause, then the case will be sent
to a Fayette District Court Judge for review. If the District Court Judge finds
that the allegations are supported by probable cause, then the Judge will issue
a summons or a warrant.
1. Criminal Summons:
A summons is an order that the defendant appear in district court. This is a notice and not an arrest. The summons will advise the defendant to appear in court for the arraignment.
2. Arrest Warrant:
The defendant will be arrested, taken to jail and later arraigned in District Court. An arrest warrant must be issued by the Fayette County District Judge’s Office.
The issuance of either a summons or an arrest warrant does not guarantee any of the following: an immediate court appearance; an arrest; the defendant will stay in jail after his/her arrest. The defendant could get out of jail on bond.
Your complaint is then forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office in the county where the defendant lives for service of the summons or arrest warrant.
THE COURT PROCESS
Arraignment is the first step in the court process. The charges are read, the defendant is advised of his/her rights, and a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered.
When and if your case is set for trial or preliminary hearing, it is your responsibility to contact the County Attorney’s Office with a list of all witnesses that need to be subpoenaed.
When you come to court, dress neatly and bring with you any witnesses and/or evidence (such as photos, receipts, damage estimates, etc.).
The prosecutor (the County Attorney or an Assistant County Attorney) will represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky and will prosecute your criminal complaint.
Identify yourself to the prosecutor as the prosecuting witness. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
WHAT WILL THE COURT DO?
The case may be continued until another date. You should be prepared for this possibility.
The defendant may be found not guilty and the case may be dismissed.
The case may be referred to mediation or diversion.
The case (in the case of a felony charge) may be bound over to the grand jury.
The defendant may be found guilty. If found guilty, any of the following may occur:
1. Defendant may be fined, made to pay court costs, sentenced to jail, or all of these.
2. The defendant may receive a suspended sentence. The defendant would be given actual jail time, but would not serve it unless he/she committed another crime or violated Court order.
3. The defendant may be placed on probation.