How does a complaint become a criminal case?

Local law enforcement officers investigate a case and, if they feel there is sufficient evidence, the application for a warrant is sent to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. If after reviewing the facts, the prosecutor feels that a person should be charged with a crime, a complaint, and an arrest warrant are prepared and the judicial cycle begins. The complaint is not a formal charge and in felony cases, the defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing before he/she is formally charged and becomes subject to trial. Since we do not currently have a grand jury in Jefferson County, the next step in which you may be involved in is the preliminary hearing.

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1. What is a subpoena?
2. How does a complaint become a criminal case?
3. What is a preliminary hearing?
4. What if the judge decides there is not sufficient evidence at the preliminary hearing?
5. Do cases always go to trial if they are not dismissed?
6. What happens if the case gets set for trial?
7. What happens in a trial?
8. How and when is sentencing determined?
9. What if I change my mind about prosecuting or testifying?
10. What if the defense attorney contacts me about the case?
11. What if someone threatens me to drop the charges?
12. Should I be concerned if months pass without hearing from the court or the Prosecuting Attorney's Office?
13. Where do I park?
14. Can I be compensated for losses I have suffered as a victim?