No one plans to get arrested. How does it work. Either you are arrested by the police or sent a letter telling you to come to court, at some point the police report documenting your case will make its way to the District Attorney’s office. At the District Attorney’s office is a person who is called the “charging DA”. If you look at the bottom of the Complaint filed against you, you will see the name of the person who is the charging DA is your case. I suspect that the charging DA in any one case is the Associate District Attorney who was not looking busy enough and basically got suck with the job.

What the Charging District Attorney does is to go through the police report of your case, and other early available evidence, with a nit comb [look it up] to find any possible crimes. The Charging District Attorney then reduces the list of crimes that they think that can prove, usually based on only a very basic review of the evidence and just the police officer’s report, to a written document called a Complaint. The Complaint is a list of the crimes that the District Attorney thinks that they can prove against you based on the initial reading of the police report.

When you are first arrested you may be given a ticket on the roadside or at the local police station, or the police can take you directly to the County jail, depending on the circumstance of you case. When you are given a ticket by a police officer, the office puts down the charges that the thinks that he witnessed and can support. When you are taken to the county jail, the officer and/or the people who assist in processing you write down the charges well before a police report is ever made. The officer or the jail, based on a very quick assessment compile a list of charges they think that the information supports.

Remember, the police and the people who work at the county jail are not lawyers. They are jailers. It is not unusual for the charges given to you at the county jail will be different than what the District Attorney actually files; the charges in the Complaint can elevate the charges that the police officer and the jail recommended or sometimes with luxury of hindsight the Charging District Attorney is able to see a fuller picture and will drop or reduce some of the first charges that were given to you.

It is different in every case. When you see your criminal defense attorney, at that very first meeting, make sure that you bring all of the paperwork that your were given that relates to your case.