How to a file a criminal complaint ("Press charges")

What does it mean to file a criminal complaint?

The Lexington Police Department does not have the ability or resources to investigate and file charges for every crime that occurs in Fayette County. For this reason, if a person is the victim of a misdemeanor crime, often times you (the victim) will need to come to our office to file a criminal complaint (“press charges”) against the suspect. The police investigate and charge all felony crimes. 

How do I file a complaint?

If 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 to schedule an appointment time at least three days after you report the matter to the police. 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 on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.

(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.

At your appointment, we will assist you in preparing an affidavit in which you will provide all of the information related to your criminal complaint.

The 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.

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.

Contact us

Located at our main office: 201 East Main Street, Ste 600.

We take complaints Mon – Weds – Fri, 8:00 to 4:30

Contact: Hunter Faulconer (ret. LMPD), (859)  226-1874, hunter.faulconer@fayettecountyattorney.com

What do I need to file a complaint?

First, you must file a police report. We will not take a complaint without the report. 

We are not an investigative agency, you will need to provide the following (if relevant to your case): video, audio, pictures, witness statements, medical records, witness contact information, etc. 

Example: You allege that someone assaulted you. Allegations without supporting evidence are not enough to file a complaint. Do you have photographs of your injury? Do you have witnesses who will come to court to testify? Do you have medical records? Was there video of the assault? We need every piece of evidence to successfully prosecute the suspect. 

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