Frequently Asked Questions
How do criminal charges get
First, a police report needs to be made with the
appropriate law enforcement agency. Law enforcement
officers will investigate the case and, if they feel
there is sufficient evidence, they will forward the
report to our office. The prosecutor assigned to the
case will review the report and determine if charges
will be filed.
What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is an official court order requiring
you to appear at the time and place specified by the
subpoena—usually to provide testimony. You should
bring your subpoena with you when you appear. If you
fail to appear in court as specified on your
subpoena, you could be held in contempt of court.
What is a Preliminary Hearing?
A preliminary hearing is to decide whether there
is sufficient evidence that a crime was committed
and that the defendant is the person who probably
committed the crime. The suspect and defense
attorney will be present, and you may be called to
testify. After the prosecutor questions witnesses,
they are usually cross-examined by the defense. If
the judge determines that there is sufficient
evidence, the defendant is bound over and an
arraignment date is set in Circuit Court. If the
judge decides there is not enough evidence, the case
will be dismissed and the defendant discharged.
What if I change my mind about prosecuting or
The Prosecutor’s Office represents the State of Missouri and determines
whether charges will be filed.
Many people incorrectly believe a victim has
the power to “press charges” or “drop charges”
against the accused. All crimes are considered
offenses against the state, not only the victim.
Only the Prosecutor’s Office will decide to file or
dismiss charges, though the victim's opinion is
important in that decision. A variety of factors are
taken into account when deciding whether to honor a
victim's request not to proceed with prosecution,
including the severity of the alleged crime, the
extent of the defendant's criminal history and,
future danger to the community.
What if someone threatens me to drop the charges?
If anyone has threatened you in connection with
the criminal case or pressured you to drop charges,
contact law enforcement immediately to file a police
report. In addition, you should contact the victim
advocate with the Prosecuting Attorney's office
after you have made the police report.
What if the defense attorney or someone from that
office contacts me about the case?
An attorney or investigator who represents the
defendant in this case may contact you. You may
speak with them or answer their questions if you
choose; however, you have the right to refuse or to
request that an attorney from the Prosecuting
Attorney's Office be present.
Can I be compensated for losses I have suffered as a
victim of crime?
Your insurance company may provide coverage for
your personal injury or property loss due to a
crime. If the defendant is placed on probation, the
court may order the defendant to pay restitution to
compensate you for your out of pocket injuries,
damages, or loss. However, restitution cannot be
guaranteed and may not be possible in all
circumstances. The Crime Victims' Compensation Fund
may cover certain out of pocket losses as a result
of personal injury or death. You may also consider
pursuing a civil suit to recover damages.
Should I be concerned if months pass without hearing
from the court or the prosecuting attorney's office?
Given the large number of pending criminal cases,
it does take time for cases to go through the legal
process. Please realize that we are continuing to
work on your case even if you haven't heard from us
and will keep you informed of any changes in the
status of the case. Please do not hesitate to
contact the Victim Advocate in the Prosecutor’s
Office if you have any questions or concerns.
When will I receive my money once restitution has
If the defendant is sentenced to probation and
ordered to pay restitution, a payment schedule will
be implemented. Payments are made to the
Prosecutor’s Office and we will mail the payments
directly to the victim. The defendant’s initial
payments will go toward court costs and the Crime
Victims' Compensation Fund. An order does not
guarantee restitution will be paid, but failure to
make payments could constitute a violation of the
conditions of probation.
I feel that a crime has been committed, how can I
report the crime?
I believe my elderly relative is being victimized
and/or abused. Who can I contact?
If you believe that an elderly individual is a
victim of abuse, call your local police department.
For other crimes committed against elderly
individuals, such as telephone scams, you may
contact the Missouri Attorney General’s Office using
their toll free number 1-800-688-9889.
I received a ticket for failure to maintain
financial responsibility (no insurance) and I have
insurance. What do I need to do?
You may bring to the Prosecutor’s Office proof of
your insurance to the attention of the Traffic
Division of the Cass County Prosecutor’s office. You
should include your agent's name and telephone
number, a copy of your ticket (or the ticket
number), and a telephone number where you can be
When is my court date?
Missouri Case.Net is the official site for the
courts at www.courts.mo.gov/casenet. You may search
either by name or case number (ticket number). Upon
locating your case through a name or case number
search, go to docket entries to search for the court
What if my ticket has FCC written on it?
Find the field identified as "Location" on your
If this field contains FCC,
your ticket has been forwarded to the
Fine Collection Center
Jefferson City, Missouri. All communication and documentation
should be directed to the FCC. They may be contacted