Do I need a police report to file a complaint with the Prosecutor's Office?
Not necessarily. Oftentimes, the police were not called at the time of the incident, so there would be no report on file. Although it is not necessary, a police report is helpful. To the extent possible, criminal activity should be reported to the appropriate police agency so that an investigation can be conducted. If, however, it is impracticable to report the incident to a police agency, or if a police agency is unwilling, for whatever reason, to make a report, then the Prosecutor's Office recommends that you file a complaint with our office within two weeks of the incident.
Do I need a private attorney to file criminal charges?
No. The Prosecutor's Office files criminal charges on behalf of the State of Indiana. As such, it is the State of Indiana that prosecutes criminal actions. If you are a victim, you do not need to hire your own attorney. You are, essentially, a witness for the State of Indiana.
What if I do not know the person's name?
If you do not know the name of the person about whom you are making the complaint, you should call the appropriate police agency. The Prosecutor's Office does not investigate complaints. The Prosecutor's Office only takes a written statement from you and evaluates whatever evidence you may have to support your allegation (e. g., physical injuries, eyewitnesses, documented damage to property, etc.).
What if I do not know the person's address?
The Prosecutor's Office may file criminal charges against a suspect even if the victim does not know where he or she lives. You may also use the suspect's work address or a relative's address. The more information you provide, the quicker the suspect can be located if charges are filed.
Does the fact that I file a statement with the Prosecutor's Office mean that charges will, indeed, be filed against the person about whom I am complaining?
No. The filing of a statement (complaint) with the Prosecutor's Office is only the first step in the process involved in the actual filing of charges. After a statement is filed with the Prosecutor's Office, a deputy prosecutor will review the statement, along with any other information that has been provided, and will make a determination as to whether the filing of charges is supported by both the facts and the law.
What if the person about whom I"m complaining is already in jail?
If an arrest was made at the time of the incident, you do not need to come to the Prosecutor's Office unless asked to do so by police or prosecutor staff. With the exception of those accused of murder, everyone is entitled to bail. You should be aware that the suspect can, and in most cases will, bond out as soon as they can make arrangements for bail money. If you believe you may be in danger if the person bonds out of jail, you should contact a police or sheriff's victim assistant immediately. They can advise as to a safety plan.
Indianapolis Police Department, Victim Assistance - (317) 327-3331
Marion County Sheriff's Department, Victim Assistance - (317) 231-8124.
What if I was arrested for the incident?
If you are arrested and charged with a crime, you are advised to speak only to your defense attorney. At your initial hearing, the judge will give you the option of hiring a private attorney. If you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, the court will appoint a public defender to represent you. You should not have any contact or conversation with the Prosecutor's Office without your attorney present.