The Aitkin County Attorney’s Office serves as the chief prosecutor for all felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile crimes within Aitkin County. Its Crime Victim Services Program handles and complies with all statutory obligations with regard to crime victim rights in accordance with Minnesota Statutes Chapter 611A. The program was established in the late 1990’s and its services continue to evolve to meet the needs of victims in the ever-changing criminal justice system.
The mission of the Aitkin County Attorney’s Office Crime Victim Services Program is to provide victim-centered services by assisting victims in understanding their rights, participating in the criminal justice system process for their particular case, while reducing the stress of victimization by providing support, information, and a voice throughout the court process.
After criminal activity is brought to the attention of law enforcement, the officer(s) will either issue a citation immediately, depending on the level and type of offence, or submit investigative material to the County Attorney's office for a prosecutor to make a charging decision. The suspect, again, depending on what the crime is and level of offense, may be brought into custody immediately. The assigned prosecutor will carefully review the investigative material provided by law enforcement.
If the prosecutor feels there is enough evidence to charge a crime or crimes, then a Criminal Complaint will be drafted. When a Criminal Complaint is issued by the County Attorney's Office and signed by a judge, the defendant will be scheduled to appear in court.
Each case is different and the number of hearings necessary can vary. In misdemeanor cases, the defendant oftentimes pleads guilty during the first appearance, but multiple hearings could also be scheduled. With gross misdemeanor and felony cases there could be numerous hearings as well. This can be a time consuming process depending on many factors. Every case has the potential to go to trial, but most cases are settled by way of plea agreement. Victim rights can be exercised throughout the court process. Please contact the Crime Victim Coordinator for more information. Victims are welcome to attend hearings, but are not required to unless they have been subpoenaed. Victims are usually only subpoenaed when a case is scheduled to go to trial.
Victims do not press charges and do not have the right to dismiss or "drop" charges. Charges are made by the State of Minnesota. When criminal activity is brought to the attention of law enforcement, the State has an obligation to protect not only the victim(s) involved, but also public safety.
Victim input about a case is extremely important, and carefully considered, but it is ultimately up to the State to negotiate any plea agreements with the defendant to settle the case.
The State customarily will not dismiss charges all together at the request of a victim, but may be willing to negotiate for the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Making a charging decision can be a complicated, time consuming process. If you are wondering about the status of your case, please contact the Crime Victim Coordinator.