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This will be mailed to the defendant and requires the defendant to appear in court and answer to the charges.
If the police arrest the accused person, the prosecutor will review the police report and determine whether the government can proceed on the charges.
(See below for more on probable cause.) In other cases, if the offender is not at the scene, the police will usually need an arrest warrant, issued by a judge, before they take the person into custody.
The test for the judge or grand jury is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt, but whether there is enough evidence to conclude that the defendant most likely or probably committed the crime.
If the charge is for a misdemeanor or petty crime, the prosecutor decides whether to prosecute the case in a lower court where lesser crimes are heard.
This is a higher standard of proof than mere probable cause.
If the charges are felony crimes, the prosecutor must present the evidence to a grand jury or to a judge in a hearing known as a probable cause or preliminary hearing.
Again, the question that police must answer is whether there is probable cause to believe a crime was committed and the person accused was the person who committed it.
When the police believe they have “probable cause,” they are saying that reasonable grounds exist for concluding that a crime occurred and the arrestee committed the crime.(Note that there is also a different kind of "probable cause hearing," which can be a quicker proceeding that asks whether there was a valid basis for arrest.If the answer is yes, the police may continue to confine a defendant who hasn’t bailed out of jail or been released on his own recognizance.While this can be very frustrating for the victim, the victim does not have the authority to make a final decision about prosecution except in very special circumstances that are explained below.A prosecutor also can decide to pursue a case even if the victim tells the police or the prosecutor that he does not want to press charges.A victim cannot force or require the prosecutor to pursue a case, but the prosecutor is more likely to pursue criminal charges if the victim is cooperative.