Commonly Asked Questions

After The Police Report Has Been Filed

 

As far as I know, the suspect hasn't even been cited. Now What?

You should be notified by the police of an arrest or of the issuance of a citation. If you have not been notified you should contact the police department for further information on the status of your report.

The suspect hasn't been arrested. What happens now?

If the suspect was cited by the officer, but not taken into custody, he/she will be required to appear before a judge within a few weeks at a hearing known as an arraignment. At that time, the judge will decide whether he/she should be taken into custody or be required to post a bond to ensure his appearance for other hearings. In addition, the court will make determinations about the terms of his/her release.

The suspect was arrested. Do I have a say about whether the suspect is released?

Arrest / Initial Appearance

The police department will notify you of the arrest, normally by phone. Upon your notification, it is very important for you to find out where the suspect was taken (booked), where the initial appearance will be held, the scheduled time of the initial appearance, and the booking number.

When defendants are arrested, either on or about the date of the violation or as a result of an arrest warrant(s), they are taken to jail. Defendants must then be brought before a judge or commissioner for an Initial Appearance with twenty-four (24) hours of the arrest. This is called the Initial Appearance. Most defendants are released at the Initial Appearance on their own recognizance (OR) and a personal promise to return to court. When released on their own recognizance, defendants are not required to post bail or a bond because it is believed that they have sufficient community ties to assure their appearance in court.

Defendants who have committed multiple crimes, more serious offenses or those who have a history of not returning to court as required are either held in jail or released on bond. The amount of bond set depends on many factors including the type of crime for which the person has been arrested.

Terms may also be set to restrict a defendant's behavior upon release. Contact between the defendant and victims or witnesses can be prohibited.

It is against the law for anyone to harass or intimidate a victim or witness.

ANY NEW CRIMES OR HARASSMENT SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THE POLICE. Remember that if the harassment is not reported, it may not stop and may increase in frequency or severity. The defendant's terms of release can be modified upon a finding that the defendant has not complied with the conditions of his/her release and the release may be revoked.

A victim may petition the Court to revoke the bond or arrest the defendant based on the victim's notarized statement asserting that harassment, threats, physical violence or intimidation against the victim (or the victim's immediate family) by the defendant (or on behalf of the defendant) has occurred.

As a victim you will be told that you are not required to appear at the initial appearance. At this point you are feeling some relief but keep in mind that it will probably be very short lived. If your stalker doesn't have a criminal history, chances are very high that he/she will be released on his own recognizance (no bail / bond). This means he/she only has to promise to show up at an arraignment.

TO BE HEARD ON THE CONDITIONS OF THE DEFENDANT'S RELEASE, YOU MUST APPEAR BEFORE THE JUDGE WHO WILL BE REVIEWING THE DEFENDANT'S CONDITIONS OF RELEASE AT THE INITIAL APPEARANCE.

Make sure you know where the facility is that your stalkers initial appearance will be held and the time. Upon arrival you will need to advise the court staff of your presence before the hearing and that you wish to be heard by the judge.   Locate the prosecuting attorney and advise him that you are there. If the initial arraignment is at the Madison Street Jail you should have a picture I.D. to be admitted.   This hearing may also serve as the defendant's arraignment.

The following advice comes from former and current stalking victims.

If your "harasser" has not been charged with stalking the following can also be applied when an arrest is made on misdemeanor charges.

We understand that the last thing you want to do is confront your stalker or even be in the same courtroom but there are very valid reasons why you should take this first opportunity to express your feelings.

You have the right to appear at the initial appearance and be heard. Take advantage of it now. Start showing yourself, your stalker, the police department, the prosecuting attorneys office and the courts that your ready to do whatever you have to in order to obtain a conviction.

As mentioned, you have a right to be heard as to whether the defendant should be released and the terms of the release, including whether the defendant should return home in domestic violence cases, whether he or she should stay away from an address or have no contact with you, and whether he or she should be ordered to not posses a weapon or to not consume any alcohol or drugs.

Several victims have been successful in having higher bonds put on their stalkers and stiffer conditions of release when they have appeared at the initial appearance. Tell the judge your true feelings, your fears and your concerns. Show your true emotions - don't hold back. If you break down, so be it. You're fighting for your life and your freedom back. Don't be afraid to ask for a high bond. Shoot for the moon - you may get it.

Example: Recently a stalking victim appeared at an initial appearance. She knew her stalker would be released on his own recognizance, as he had no prior arrests or convictions. Her stalker had continually violated restraining orders and even after warnings from the police and citations he continued. She knew, in her own mind, that if he was released what was going to happen to her. She openly expressed her concerns and fears to the judge. She made it clear that only a high bond would help detour her stalker. She asked for a $200,000 bond, even though she knew her chances were slim and none. What was the final outcome of her plea? Her stalker was slapped with a $170,000 bond.

Not all cases will have this outcome but it's worth a shot. If you don't speak out openly now no one will know your fears and that your life is truly in danger. No one knows your stalker better than you do and what could happen to you if he/she is released on his/her own recognizance. Have police warnings stopped him/her in the past? Is being released on their own recognizance any different? Always remember that even with a high bond there are no guarantees that your stalker is going to quit.

Many victims feel if they appear the stalker will take it as "you still care or you still love me". Do you really care what he/she thinks? Remember it's your life were talking about.  It's time to start showing the stalker that you can no longer be intimidated or controlled.

One victim would like to relay to you why she attended every court hearing, against everyone's well meaning advice. I knew that every time I walked into a courtroom he would take it as I still cared or that I still loved him. The only reason I was there was for myself, no one else. It gave me the courage to face him and let him know that I couldn't be intimidated anymore no matter what. It gave me the confidence and determination to continue and not back down. I broke down speaking to the judge and I felt like I wanted to regurgitate. No, I didn't get a $100,000 bond put on my stalker I only got a $2,000 bond but it was a major victory for me. I had nothing to loose at the first initial arraignment. Two weeks later, my stalker was arrested again for violating his conditions of release. I did appear again, voiced my opinion and this time he was held on a $20,000 bond. He couldn't make bond and within three months he was sentenced to one year in the slammer and three years probation. I do know what it's like to face your stalker -- do it.

How do I find out when the suspect will be released from jail?

The Maricopa County Jail has a computerized notification system called V.I.N.E., (Victim Information and Notification Everyday) that is offered to crime victims in Maricopa County. To register for V.I.N.E., you will need a touch-tone phone and the suspect's name or booking number. If you do not have this information call Jail Victim Rights at 602-256-5484 to obtain that information.

To register with V.I.N.E., call 1-800-278-8509. After dialing the number, following the instructions given by the phone system. V.I.N.E. will ask for a phone number and a four-digit PIN number. The PIN number is one that you choose.

Once you are registered with the V.I.N.E. system, you will receive an automated phone call for the first twenty-four hours whenever the suspect is released or escapes from jail. You must then enter the correct PIN number to discontinue calls. If you have an answering machine, V.I.N.E. will leave a message on the machine but continue to call for twenty-four hours or until the PIN number is entered.

If you ever want to confirm that the suspect is still in jail, you may call the number listed above any time of day and receive current status information.

For further information about the V.I.N.E. system or any other services provided by the Sheriff's Office, please call 602-256-5484.

I don't want the suspect to come near. What can I do?

If you have been a victim or are a potential victim of domestic violence, you may seek an Order of Protection

Non-domestic violence victims can seek an Injunction Against Harassment.

For further information go back to Orders of Protection and Injunction Against Harassment.

What can I do if the charge is not filed?

Contact the prosecutor who reviewed the case. The attorney who reviewed the charge will call you back. Remember you must call within 30 days of receiving the notice informing you of the decision not to prosecute.

What if I want the charges dismissed?

Although you have many rights as a victim, you do not have the right to have a charge dismissed. The prosecutor decides whom to charge, not the victim.

How can I find out what is going on?

You may automatically be informed of certain hearings and may request notice of others.

Your Right to Notice

If you are the victim of a criminal offense involving physical injury, the threat of physical injury or a sexual offense, you should automatically receive notice of the following:

The date, time, and place of the initial appearance. (If known by the officer, it will be provided to you at the time of the arrest.)

Notice of escape of an incarcerated defendant.

Notice within a week of the decision to file charges against the defendant.

If your testimony is needed, you will receive a court subpoena ordering your attendance at a hearing or trail.

WARNING: Failure to obey a subpoena could result in contempt of court and/or separate criminal charges being filed against you.

The Prosecutor's Office will send the following notices upon request.

A copy of the terms and conditions of the defendant's release. If the defendant was booked into jail, this notice will be provided by the jail. If the defendant appeared by summons, this notice will be sent upon request by the Prosecutor's Office.

The date and time of all criminal proceedings affecting the defendant.

The sentence imposed on the defendant.

If the defendant is convicted, the date, time, and place of any sentencing or pre-sentencing hearing.

Notification of any probation revocation proceeding or modification of probation, if the modification will substantially affect the defendant's contact with or safety of the victim, or if the modifications affect restitution.

Notification that prosecution is declined and the reason for not charging the defendant with a crime.

I have more information about the crime. Who do I talk to?

If new facts come to light which may affect a judge's decision whether to allow a defendant to remain free without bond, or which affect the defendant's terms of release, contact the Prosecutor's Office.

If you have not been notified that charges have been filed, contact the officer who took the initial report or the detective assigned to your case.

I would like to speak with a prosecutor.

Call the Prosecutor's Office handling your case. Ask to speak directly to your prosecutor. Due to court appearances and duties, the prosecutors may not be immediately available to confer with you, but will call you back. If a phone call has not been returned, keep calling until you speak to the prosecutor. Be persistent.

In simple terms what are my rights as a victim.

If a criminal offense was committed against you, you have the following rights in the criminal justice proceedings:

You automatically have the following rights:

To be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse throughout the criminal justice process.

To refuse to be interviewed or deposed by the defendant or the defendant's lawyer.

To be accompanied by a parent, relative advocate or other support person (who will not be testifying at the trial) to any interview, deposition or judicial proceeding, including trial.

If you choose to be interviewed or deposed, you may specify the date, time, duration, location and other conditions.

To end any interview or deposition if it is not conducted in a dignified manner.

To have your views and your right to a speedy trial considered by the court in any criminal proceeding.

To a speedy trial or disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case after conviction and sentence.

You have the following rights upon request:

To confer with the prosecutor regarding the defendant's conditions of release, plea bargains and other pretrial matters.

To be present at and notified of any court hearing where the defendant has the right to be present.

To be provided with information as to the defendant's release status.

To have your home and work addresses, telephone numbers or other information that could result in locating you withheld from the defendant and his attorney.

To be informed of the results of the case.

To receive prompt restitution from the defendant upon conviction and to be heard by the court on the method of payment of restitution.

To be heard at any proceeding involving a post-arrest release decision, negotiated plea or sentencing.

THESE RIGHTS DO NOT INCLUDE THE RIGHT TO HAVE A CASE DISMISSED.

What about my right to notice?

If you are the victim of a criminal offense involving physical injury, the threat of physical injury or a sexual offense, you should automatically receive notice of the following:

    1. The date, time and place of the initial appearance. (If known by the officer, it will be provided to you at the time of the arrest.)

    2. Notice of escape of an incarcerated defendant.

    3. Notice within a week of the decision to file charges against the defendant.

    4. If your testimony is needed, you will receive a court subpoena ordering your attendance at a hearing or trial.

WARNING: Failure to obey a subpoena could result in contempt of court and/or separate criminal charges being filed against you.

The Prosecutor's Office will send the following notices upon request:

    1. A copy of the terms and conditions of the defendant's release. If the defendant was booked into jail, this notice will be provided by the jail. If the defendant appeared by summons, this notice will be sent upon request by the Prosecutor's Office.

    2. The date and time of all criminal proceedings affecting the defendant.

    3. The sentence imposed on the defendant.

    4. If the defendant is convicted, the date, time and place of any sentencing or pre-sentencing hearing.

    5. Notification of any probation revocation proceeding or modification of probation, if the modification will substantially affect the defendant's contact with or safety of the victim, or if the modifications affect restitution.

    6. Notification that prosecution is declined and the reason for not charging the defendant with a crime.

WARNING: A defendant may plead guilty to the charge and be sentenced at any regularly scheduled court appearance including initial appearance and arraignment. 

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

As a crime victim, one of the most important rights you have is to let the Court know, prior to sentencing, how the crime has affected you and your family. A Victim Impact Statement helps to ensure your right to be heard even if you cannot personally appear at sentencing. This is especially important because a defendant may plead and be sentenced at any court setting.

For further information contact the Prosecuting Attorney's office.

What is a misdemeanor?

Misdemeanors are violations of city ordinances or state statues ranging from minor traffic offenses to more serious crimes, such as domestic violence, assault, theft, driving under the influence, harassment, trespassing.

What is an arraignment?

If no arrest is made, the first court appearance for the defendant in Municipal Court is called an "arraignment." The arraignment services several purposes. First, the defendant is informed of the exact nature of the charge(s) The defendant is also advised of his or her rights including the right to have an attorney and, if he or she cannot afford an attorney, to have one be provided at public expense. At this time, the defendant pleads guilty or not guilty to the charge(s).

If the defendant enters a plea of "guilty" at the arraignment, the judge will either sentence the defendant immediately or set a later sentencing date.

If the defendant enters a plea of "not guilty," a pretrial disposition conference (PDC) date is set. At this conference, the prosecutor gives the defense attorney copies of the State's case file, which includes witnesses' statements and police reports.

What is a Pretrial Disposition Conference (PDC)?

Before the trial, usually at the PDC, it is routine for the Assistant City Prosecutor handing the case to discuss the possibility of a negotiated plea agreement with the defense attorney.

If an agreement is reached, the attorneys and the defendant appear before a judge. The defendant changes his plea to guilty or no contest, signs a form declaring that he is knowingly giving up various rights, including the right to cross-examine witnesses. The judge will usually sentence the defendant according to the terms of the agreement.

If an agreement is not reached, the defendant may plead guilty to the court. Each side will then recommend a sentence but the judge decides the sentence.

What next? - Pretrial Proceedings

If a plea agreement cannot be reached, trial preparation begins. During discovery, there may be several court hearings scheduled before trail. At the court hearings, called pretrial hearings, motions may be heard regarding the admissibility of evidence, pretrial release of the defendant or other matters of concern to the attorneys or the court.

Remember, as a victim you have a right to be present and, upon request, to be informed of all proceedings where the defendant has the right to be present.

What exactly is the trial?

If a negotiated plea agreement is not reached and the defendant does not plead to the court, the case is set to trial. Depending on the type of crime committed, the trial will be heard by either a judge or jury.

He's guilty so what happens at sentencing?

If the defendant is found guilty, the judge may set a future date for the defendant to be sentenced. In most misdemeanor cases, sentencing may occur the same day that the defendant is found guilty. The defendant has the right to continue sentencing for up to thirty days from the date of conviction. If the defendant is placed on probation, you have the right to receive a copy of the terms of probation. If any of the terms of probation are violated and you learn of it, you should contact the police or prosecutor immediately.

 

The information, contained above, is a very simplified explanation of how the Criminal Justice Systems operates and does not explain all the complexities of the system. If you have further questions, please contact your local court, prosecutor, or police department.


End Stalking In America, Inc.

endstalking@aol.com

 

Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or mental advice. Professionals should be contacted for all legal advice, mental and threat assessments.


To navigate throughout this site click on desired topic.

 

Home Page     Table of Contents      What is Stalking     Forms of Stalking     Traits of Stalkers     Mistakes Victims Make

Reactions of Victims     Stalking In The Workplace      Safety Tips    Building Your Case      Filing A Police Report

Obtaining Police Reports      Court Orders      Questions After Filing       Cover Your Tracks      Changing Your Social Security Number

Understanding The Judicial System     Definitions      Victims' Rights In Arizona     Arizona Statutes      Victims Speak Out

Evolution of E.S.I.A. - "My Story"      Firearms-Personal Protection     State Stalking Laws    Recommended Reading

ESIA, end stalking in America, end stalking in Arizona, America stalking, Arizona stalking, stalking assistance, stalking support, stalking victim, stalking education, stalking advice, stalking advocate, stalking harassment, stalk, stalker, stalking help, stalking, ESIA, end stalking in America, end stalking in Arizona, America stalking, Arizona stalking, stalking assistance, stalking support, stalking victim, stalking education, stalking advice, stalking advocate, stalking harassment, stalk, stalker, stalking help, stalking, ESIA, end stalking in America, end stalking in Arizona, America stalking, Arizona stalking, stalking assistance, stalking support, stalking victim, stalking education, stalking advice, stalking advocate, stalking harassment, stalk, stalker, stalking help, stalking, ESIA, end stalking in America, end stalking in Arizona, America stalking, Arizona stalking, stalking assistance, stalking support, stalking victim, stalking education, stalking advice, stalking advocate, stalking harassment, stalk, stalker, stalking help, stalking