Criminal Complaints and the Warrant Process
in Jefferson County District Court
Jefferson County Attorney Criminal Complaint Division
In Jefferson District Court, individuals who believe they have been crime victims can file criminal complaints. To assist in this process, assistant county attorneys will review your complaint and make a decision on its merits.
How to File a Criminal Complaint
In order to file a criminal complaint:
you must have the person’s full (first and last name) and exact address
The person’s date of birth or Social Security number or Driver’s License number
The person must be 18 years of age or older
The crime must have occurred in Jefferson County, KY
You must have a valid government-issued ID
Come to Room 1150, 1st Floor, Hall of Justice and fill out a complaint application.
A prosecutor will discuss your complaint with you.
The prosecutor will decide if your case fits the criteria for criminal prosecution. If it does, two options exist:
a criminal complaint summons will be issued for the defendant to appear in Jefferson District Court for arraignment. This is a notice, not an arrest.
an arrest warrant will be issued and the police will make the arrest. The defendant will be arrested, taken to jail, and later arraigned in Jefferson District Court.
If your case does not fit the criteria for criminal prosecution, it will be rejected. This will be explained to you at the time of your interview, or you will receive written notification from the Warrant Intake office within 7-10 days.
Arraignment is the first step in the court process. The defendant is read the charge(s), advised of his/her rights, and then enters a plea of guilty or not guilty.
You will not receive notice of, and you not need to appear at arraignment. If you wish to appear, ask the warrant prosecutor for more information.
About two weeks later, you will receive a subpoena – a legal notice – for you to appear in court.
If your mailing address changes before you receive your subpoena, you must go in person to the District Court Clerk’s office at the Jefferson Hall of Justice to notify the court of the change. Failure to do so may result in dismissal of your case. You MUST have your Identification.
You cannot drop your complaint. It is the responsibility of the Commonwealth to prosecute and determine the course of the case. Your failure to appear and follow through to your court date may result in your arrest.
The court can neither guarantee an immediate arrest of the defendant, nor, if the defendant is arrested, that the person will remain in jail until the court date.
Jefferson District Court can enter what is called a "No Contact Order." You may request this at your first hearing before the judge.
For problems involving family violence, you may be able to get an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) requiring a person to not do something for a specific period of time.
Call the Jefferson Family Court Clerk at 595-4433 for more information.
If a No Contact Order is issued and then violated by the defendant, normally the police will not arrest the defendant. You must ask the court to hold the defendant in contempt for violating the order and a separate hearing will be held.
Going to Court
When you come to court, dress neatly and bring any witnesses and/or evidence (photos, medical records, receipts, proof of payments, damage estimates, etc.).
Sit quietly until your case is called. If you are not there to hear it, your complaint may be dismissed. When your case is called, identify yourself as the prosecuting witness to the prosecutor.
The prosecutor, an assistant county attorney, will represent the Commonwealth of Kentucky and will prosecute your criminal complaint.
If you have any questions, ask the prosecutor. Be sure to explain to him or her exactly why you filed your complaint.
What Will Happen?
Your case may be continued until another court date. You should prepare for this possibility.
The defendant may be found not guilty and the case dismissed.
The defendant may be found guilty.
The defendant could be fined, made to pay court costs, sentenced to jail or all of the above.
The defendant could be sentenced to a term in the Community Treatment Center.
The defendant could be given a suspended sentence, otherwise known as a Conditional Discharge. The defendant is given a jail sentence, but not serve it unless committing another crime or violating other court orders.
The defendant could be placed in suspended probation. Normally, the defendant serves some time in jail and be released early under the supervision of a probation officer.
Criminal Complaint Division
Hall of Justice, Ste. 1150
600 W. Jefferson St.