What happens after an arrest is made?
- In many counties, there is a minimum time a batterer is held without bond.
- In Monroe County, the suspect is held for 24 hours after a domestic battery.
- The police make a report and turn it over to the prosecutor. Someone in the prosecutor’s office will actually make the decision on whether or not to file charges.
- Once charges are filed someone from the victim’s assistance department in the prosecutor’s office will contact you for an appointment. At this appointment, you will be told how they plan to prosecute the case. You will have a chance to say what you hope to see happen.
- Some cases are dismissed. Whether charges are dropped is not up to the victim. The prosecutor makes that decision on the merits of the case.
- Even if the prosecutor decides to go forward, the case may end with a plea agreement. Some victims like this because they don’t have to go to court. With a plea agreement the abuser pleads guilty to some charge in return for a specific jail time or no jail time, probation, and counseling. Victims can often have a say in these arrangements.
- Occasionally a case goes to trial. If that happens a judge or jury decides whether the suspect is guilty or not. The judge often will let the victim speak at sentencing for the purpose of informing the court about the impact of the abuse.
Get involved in the system.
Although it can be very confusing and often a little frightening, the criminal justice system is supposed to be for your benefit. The case is more likely to turn out the way you want it to if you get involved in the process. If you want someone to go through the process with you, or if you believe the system is against you, call a Middle Way legal advocate at (812) 333-7404 or an organization that serves survivors of domestic violence in your area for help. For Legal Advocacy in one of the county offices, click here for their contact information.
Some things you might need to know.
- "No drop policy. Monroe County in Indiana has a “no drop policy.” This means the victim cannot drop charges. There are no exceptions to this rule. However, the “no drop policy” does not mean that a case will be prosecuted.
- Restitution. Included in some sentences is “restitution.” This means the abuser has to financially repay you for actual damages he or she caused. The prosecutor needs copies of these bills as soon as possible. Medical expenses or repair bills for property damage can be included in the restitution.
- Victim compensation. If a report was made within 48 hours of the crime, you can apply for financial compensation from the state’s Victim of Violent Crime fund. These funds provide financial assistance, especially for counseling or medical bills. Ask the victim’s assistance staff at your local prosecutor’s office or the Middle Way legal advocate for an application.