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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26413
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have 2 questions. In order for a detective to investigate

Customer Question

I have 2 questions. In order for a detective to investigate a crime does a police report have to be filed? Also can I detective do any work even though a person lives in another county then where the crime is being investigated?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.

My name is Fran and I am a criminal lawyer.

A crime cannot be investigated unless the police have learned about it in the first place. That usually means that someone filed a complaint with the police or that they witnessed the criminal act themselves. Sooner or later the police would have to fill out a police report. But they don't need to prepare it in order to investigate.

A detective from another county can cooperate on a defendant's investigation and arrest. Generally the arrest would be made by an officer who works in the jurisidiction where the crime was committed.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
But what I am asking is if the plaintiff lives in another county the detective can file charges for the different county then which they live in?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
Hello Kevin,

There is no such thing as a plaintiff on a criminal case. In a criminal case you have a complainant and a defendant. Also, a detective does not file charges. Only the prosecutor can do that.

If a complainant contacts his local police and reports something in another county, the police will convey the information to the other county and the prosecutor where the crime took place will file charges.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
So you are saying that I can call a county 4 hours away and file a complaint and let that detective file the charges and then let a prosecutor in my county file the charges?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.
No, I don't think I said that.

Are you the victim of a criminal case? The jurisdiction where the crime was committed is the one in charge of the case.

To illustrate, if someone broke into your house, he would be arrested by the police in your county and prosecuted by your county prosecutor's office.

If he committed an identity theft using his home computer, then regardless of where you live, it's HIS police and his county's prosecutor that you need in order to report the case and have it prosecuted.

You can call a county 4 hours away and report a crime that happened in that county. As a general rule though, your complaint would be taken more seriously if you go there and report it to the police there in person.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The crime I am trying to report is email harassment but I have been told that I cannot file a report because I cannot prove it is the person that is sending it. I just want to get my life back to normal.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 3 years ago.

That's a different story then. It would be the other person's jurisidiction which would control the case BUT, before the police will do anything about it, they need to have enough evidence to give them probable cause for the arrest.

Probable cause is doesn't take much evidence. It's a reasonable belief that a crime may have been committed and that a particular person may have had something to do with it. But it has to be more than a hunch or guesswork. So you'll have to wait until you can connect this person to the emails conclusively. Don't forget that in order to win a case, a prosecutor must be able to prove the person's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. So if there's not enough of a connection, the state won't pick it up because they wouldn't be able to win it.

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