What kind of cases does the State’s Attorney’s Office prosecute?
The State’s Attorney’s Office is responsible for prosecuting all criminal offenses that occur with Queen Anne’s County. These cases range from serious motor vehicle traffic offenses to murder.
How can I press charges against someone who has committed a crime against me?
If a crime has been committed against you we strongly recommend reporting the matter to the police. The police will most likely conduct an investigation and produce an official police report detailing any physical evidence and/or witness statements, which can assist our office if the matter proceeds to a court trial.
In some matters the police may file criminal charges on your behalf. In cases in which the police file charges you will most likely receive a subpoena in the near future to appear at a scheduled court trial.
In some cases the police may refer you to the District Court Commissioner to file charges. To file charges with the District Court Commissioner proceed to the District Court and request to see the commissioner. You will be required to complete a written application for statement of charges, which documents the facts of the incident. If the commissioner determines a crime has been committed based on your sworn statement, then the appropriate criminal charges will be filed. The charges will then be served on the defendant by the police.
If I am the victim of a crime, do I have control over whether my case is prosecuted?
The simple answer is No. For any crime committed in the State of Maryland, the case becomes the State’s case against the offender and the State’s Attorney must decide the resolution for the case that is in the best interest of justice. However, we certainly value your opinion about the outcome of the case. Our victim-witness specialists and/or a prosecutor will typically contact you for your input and to advise you of the case status.
What is restitution?
Restitution is money that may be paid, or ordered by the court to be paid, to you by a defendant if you are the victim of a crime in which property was stolen, damaged or injuries required medical treatment.
Can I request pain and suffering?
No. Pain and suffering cannot be ordered through a criminal or juvenile case. If you feel you are entitled to such compensation you should discuss this matter with a private attorney who may recommend filing a civil proceeding.
If I am the victim of a crime, do I need to hire an attorney?
Because that State’s Attorney will be prosecuting the case against the defendant, your interest will be represented by the State. If you have questions concerning civil lawsuits or pain and suffering, you may want to hire a private attorney to address those matters.
What if I can’t show up for court after receiving a subpoena?
A subpoena means you MUST come to court on the assigned date. If you are unable to do so, please contact the State’s Attorney’s Office immediately. You must be personally excused by the State’s Attorney or his staff. Simply not showing up for your court date may result in a bench warrant or body attachment being issued for your arrest.
Can a minor be subpoenaed to court without the parent’s permission?
Yes. Anyone who is a victim or a witness to a crime can be subpoenaed to testify. Parental or guardian permission is not required.
How can I find out if I am needed to appear as the court date approaches?
If a case disposition is rendered by the prosecutor in the case that does not require your appearance at the court hearing you will be notified by one of our victim-witness specialists. You may also call our office the day before the scheduled court date and our victim-witness specialists can provide you the case status.
If you are subpoenaed to appear for court and need to determine if the court is closed due to inclement weather please contact the District or Circuit Court directly.
What services do the victim-witness specialists provide?
- Up to date case status information
- Explanation of legal terminology and court procedures
- Referrals to community resources
- Court preparation and planning a meeting with the prosecutor if needed
- Assistance in preparing Victim Impact Statements
- Gather restitution information to be provided to the prosecutor
If you are a victim or witness involved in a pending criminal case you can phone our office to speak to one of our victim-witness specialists who will gladly assist you throughout the prosecution process.
Services not provided by our Victim-Witness Specialists:
- Witness fees or payment for lost wages
- Transportation. It is your responsibility to find transportation to any scheduled court hearing.
- Childcare. Our office does not provide childcare and we request that you leave your children with a responsible friend, relative or professional service on the date the matter is scheduled for trial.