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criminal justice process

Where the Process Begins

A survivor always has the option to report or can choose not to at any point in the process. It is important for a survivor to know they are in charge of their process.

Police Investigation

The criminal justice process begins with a report that a crime has occurred. Law enforcement officers investigate these reports and forward the information that they gather to the Salt Lake District Attorney’s Office (in Salt Lake County).

Criminal Charges

After reviewing the information forwarded to their office by law enforcement, the District Attorney’s Office determines if there is enough evidence to file charges. If it is determined that there is sufficient evidence, the prosecutor will file formal documents that charge the defendant with one or more crimes.


Once a defendant is charged with committing a crime, they can either be ordered to appear in Court via a “Summons”, which orders a party to appear in Court on a specific date, or they can be arrested.

If the defendant is arrested, they may stay in jail until the trial and sentencing are complete. In these cases, the defendant is entitled to have the proceedings scheduled as quickly as possible. However, it is more often the case that the defendant is released from jail, either on their own recognizance, or after posting bail. Prior to release, the defendant will promise to appear in Court on the appointed day. To be notified of defendant’s release from jail, register with VINE.


For more information about the criminal justice process, please contact our office at (801)467-7282, Monday through Thursday, 9am-5pm MST.