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WHAT IS A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT?

A criminal complaint is a short statement of essential facts about an alleged crime, which, when filed in Court, formally begins the criminal process. Facts about a crime are submitted to the District Attorney's Office by a law enforcement agency. If the evidence is deemed sufficient to prosecute, a complaint is filed. The District Attorney's Office can authorize a complaint for any crime. Murder is punishable by at least 25 years to life. Class A crimes are punishable by incarceration of up to 40 years. Class D and E (sometimes called misdemeanors) are punishable by less than 1 year in jail and/or a fine less than $2,000. Misdemeanors may be prosecuted in the District Court (before a judge only); although, many are transferred to Superior Court for jury trials at the defendant's request. Almost all A, B and C crimes are prosecuted in Superior Court.