Suspect to Defendant: Facing Charges

To be "charged" with a crime means to be formally accused of that crime. Police officers usually start the charging process with an arrest or citation. They then send copies of their reports to a prosecutor’s office staffed by government lawyers whose job it is to initiate and prosecute criminal cases. The prosecutor is supposed to either:

  • make an independent decision as to what charges should be filed, or
  • enlist the help of citizens serving as grand jurors in deciding what charges to file.

Learn about how criminal charges are chosen and filed. If you've been arrested for or charged with a crime, you'll probably want to speak to a lawyer. Start your search with our lawyer directory search using the tool above.