HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT (“PRESS CHARGES”) FOR A CRIME
OR VIOLATION THAT OCCURRED IN BOONE COUNTY
WHERE DO YOU GO?
To file a complaint against an adult (18 years of age or older) for a crime or violation that occurred in Boone County, you must go in person to the Boone County Attorney’s Office located in the Renaker House at 2970 Union Square, Burlington, Kentucky. The hours for filling out an application and affidavit for a complaint are:
Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
To file against a juvenile (a person under the age of 18 years), you must go to the Court Designated Worker’s Office in the Boone County Justice Center located at 6205 Rogers Lane, Washington Square, Burlington, Kentucky. The telephone number for the Court Designated Worker’s Office is (859) 334-3249.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO TAKE WITH YOU?
- A current photo i.d.
- The name and complete address of the person you wish to file against (the defendant).
- The date of birth and social security number of the defendant, if known.
- A copy of the relevant police report.
HOW DO I FILE A COMPLAINT?
An employee of the Boone County Attorney’s Office will ask you to fill out an application and affidavit on which you will provide all the information related to your request. The affidavit will be reviewed by the Boone County Attorney or an Assistant Boone County Attorney and a determination will be made as to whether a complaint will be taken and, if so, what charges it will contain.
WHAT HAPPENS TO THE COMPLAINT?
If it is determined by the Boone County Attorney’s office that criminal charges are appropriate, a judge will review the complaint and issue one of the following:
- Criminal Summons
A summons is an order that the defendant appear in the Boone District Court. This is a notice and not an order for arrest. The summons will advise the defendant to appear in the Boone District Court at a specified date and time for the arraignment (the first call of the case).
- Arrest Warrant
An arrest warrant is an order requesting any appropriate law enforcement officer arrest the defendant.
The complaint is then forwarded to the sheriff’s department in the county where the defendant lives for service of the summons or arrest warrant. The issuance of either the summons or arrest warrant does not guarantee an immediate court appearance or an arrest. Further, if a defendant is arrested, he may be released after appearing before an appropriate judge.
HOW WILL THE CASE PROCEED?
After the criminal summons or arrest warrant is served, an arraignment is the first step in the court process. The charges are read and the defendant is advised of his/her rights. For misdemeanors and violations, the defendant may enter a plea of “guilty” or “not guilty”. For felonies, a “not guilty” plea will be entered.
Following arraignment, the next step for felony cases is a preliminary hearing. At a preliminary hearing a Boone District Judge determines if there is sufficient evidence to send a case to the grand jury. If so, the case is presented to the grand jury by the Boone Commonwealth Attorney. If a felony indictment is returned, the Boone Commonwealth Attorney prosecutes the case in the Boone Circuit Court. If a misdemeanor indictment is returned, the case returns to the Boone District Court.
For misdemeanors and violations, if the defendant entered a “not guilty” plea at the arraignment, the next step is a pretrial conference. At a pretrial conference, resolution of the case is explored. If there is no resolution, a trial is set.
Mediation and diversion are possible conclusions of misdemeanors and violations. The court may order mediation even if mediation has previously been attempted and was not successful. Diversion allows a defendant to avoid a conviction if court-ordered conditions are met. Not all defendants are eligible for diversion. The court will make a determination if a defendant is eligible for diversion.
If mediation or diversion are not ordered or are not successful, misdemeanor and violations will proceed through the Boone District Court. If a guilty plea is not entered or if the action is not dismissed, the case will likely proceed to a bench trial or jury trial. After trial, a defendant may be found “guilty” or “not guilty”. If found “not guilty”, the complaint is dismissed. If found “guilty”, the defendant, in addition to being required to pay court costs, can receive a sentence containing the following:
- A fine; and/or
- Jail time (if convicted of a violation, the court cannot order jail time);
If jail time is part of a sentence, the defendant can be placed on probation (conditional discharge) for up to two years. If the defendant meets all the conditions placed on him/her during that period, he/she will not serve the jail time.
Many times cases have to be continued for various reasons. Please be prepared for this possibility. The Boone County Attorney’s Office will make every effort to insure all charges are prosecuted in a timely and appropriate manner.
WHAT ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES?
You are required to appear at all scheduled mediations, the arraignment and all subsequent court dates. It is your responsibility to keep track of your court dates. When and if your case is set for trial or a preliminary hearing, at that time it is your responsibility to contact the Boone County Attorney’s Office with a list of all witnesses that need to be subpoenaed.
When appearing in court, be sure to dress neatly and appropriately. At any trial or preliminary hearing, bring with you any relevant witnesses and physical evidence. The Boone County Attorney or an Assistant Boone County Attorney will prosecute the case and present evidence to the court. Make sure you identify yourself to the prosecutor prior to court starting, and if you have any questions, ask the prosecutor.