So you had a problem with a neighbor, a spouse, or at a bar and the police came out and took statements from everyone.  You included.  Lucky you!  You didn’t get arrested.  The police tell you most likely nothing will happen.  It’s time to relax, right? –  Wrong!

Often times on a misdemeanor or felony case, the police investigate a complaint at the scene and for some reason they decide not to make an arrest at that time.  Perhaps they are missing a vital piece of evidence.  Maybe they need to interview more people.  Or sometimes they just can’t make a decision on whether they have probable cause.  Typically what they will do is refer the case to the State Attorney’s Office (SAO).  This is called a non-arrest referral.  Now a prosecutor starts looking at it.  The SAO may request law enforcement to gather more evidence.  Or the SAO may just sift through the evidence and decide that there is probable cause.  At that point, if it is misdemeanor you will get a certified letter of the arraignment (that is assuming you still live at the address you gave to the police).  If the charge is a felony, the SAO will issue an arrest warrant.  The next thing you’ll get is a knock at the door with a police officer ready to take you to jail.  I have seen this process take weeks, months, or even years.  It’s happening and often times you are completely unaware of it until the court date in the mail or the knock at the door.

The point is any time you have contact with a police officer and you are the subject of a criminal investigation; you should consult with a criminal attorney in your area to discuss the matter.