Criminal Prosecution Process
Typical Criminal Prosecution Process:

  1.  A crime is committed.
  2. The appropriate law enforcement agency investigates and either issues a citation, arrests the offender, or forwards the case to the prosecuting attorney for review.
  3. If case is forwarded to prosecuting attorney and prosecutor finds a criminal charge is appropriate, a petition or complaint is filed in District Court.  The standard process is as follows (additional hearings may be scheduled at the request of either party):
    1. If a misdemeanor charge:
      1. Arraignment Hearing
      2. Pre-trial Hearing
      3. Trial
      4. Sentencing
    2. If a gross misdemeanor or felony charge:
      1. First Appearance (Rule 5 Hearing)
      2. Second Appearance (Rule 8 Hearing)
      3. Omnibus Hearing / Pre-Trial
      4. Contested Omnibus (Rasmussen)
      5. Trial
      6. Sentencing
In order to charge a crime, a County Attorney must be able to prove that there is probable cause to believe a specific defendant committed a specific crime on a specific date within the county.  To convict, the County Attorney must prove those same factors beyond a reasonable doubt.