The primary role of the Criminal Division is to
represent the people of Shelby County in court,
ensuring that Indiana laws are upheld. The criminal
justice process begins with the reporting of a
The Prosecuting Attorney of Shelby County
represents the State of Indiana in all criminal
prosecutions. The prosecutor's office conducts
juvenile adjudications and prosecutions and
prosecutes infractions of state law. As the lead law
enforcement officer in Shelby County, the
Prosecuting Attorney also performs criminal
investigations, convenes and supervises Grand Jury
proceedings, enforces child support orders, and
provides resources and assistance to victims of
someone get charged with a crime?
Upon receipt of a complaint of criminal
conduct, the police conduct an investigation to
gather information or evidence to be reviewed by
the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting
attorney determines whether sufficient evidence
exists to support that: (1) a crime has occurred
and (2) that the right person is charged. The
prosecutor then files a charge of the crime with
the court and the prosecution commences.
Can I press
charges or drop charges?
If you believe that you have been a victim of
the crime, you should contact the police and
provide them all available information as to the
crime which you believe to have occurred. The
term "pressing charges" relates to a victim or
complaintant issuing a complaint against another
for a possible crime and representing an
intention to go forward with the prosecution by
agreeing to testify in the eventual trial.
Although you may be the "victim" of a crime, the
crime is also against the State of Indiana. Once
the prosecuting attorney has filed a charge, the
decision to terminate the prosecution or dismiss
the case rests solely with the prosecutor.
prosecutor file criminal charges on every
Not all complaints of criminal conduct rise
to the level of criminal charges being filed by
the prosecutor. There are numerous
considerations which go into the decision to
file criminal charges, including the quantity
and quality of evidence of the crime.
What is the
plea bargain and why is it used?
Plea bargains are agreements between the
prosecuting attorney and the criminal defendant
and his/her lawyer that set forth terms both
parties determine to be a reasonable disposition
of a case without the case proceeding to trial.
Plea bargaining is necessary to the efficient
administrations of justice as it would be
impossible to proceed to trial on all criminal
cases filed. Factors considered in plea bargain
negotiations are the type and level of the
offense, the quantity and quality of evidence,
and the prior criminal history of the accused
How long will
my case take?
As a general rule, all criminal cases are
required to be completed within one year of the
date of filing. Practically speaking, many cases
are concluded prior to the one year time limit,
and many cases exceed the one year time limit
albeit for legitimate and court approved
reasons. Typically, cases that are minor in
nature (i.e. misdemeanors, class D felonies,
etc.) work through the normal system within six
to nine months. More serious charges may extend
from six months to two years or more, depending
upon the complexity of issues and other factors.
expected if I am called to testify as a witness
TELL THE TRUTH! If you are called to testify
as a witness, you will receive a subpoena
directing you where to be and when.