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What does it mean to press charges against someone?

Does that mean they're automatically going to get arrested for the charges they are pressed with? I was told someone is pressing charges against me today.

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    John Shean | Shean Law
    1114 N. College Ave.
    Bloomington, IN 47404
    (812) 332-3643
    The term "press charges" is misleading. All anyone can do is to report a "crime" to the police. The police are supposed to investigate the circumstances and then report their findings to the local prosecutor. The local prosecutor - called the district attorney or "DA" in some states - is the one who decides whether or not to file formal criminal charges. So, in the end, the person who reports the crime is not the one who files the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana - Replied: 3/12/2013
    Christopher G Humphrey | Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC
    P.O. Box 4216
    Cheyenne, WY 82003
    (307) 222-2448
    All it means is they are making a report to the police of criminal activity. It is still up to the police to investigate the crime and arrest you, or send it to the District Attorney to file a felony warrant for your arrest.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming - Replied: 3/12/2013
    Mel Dunn | Mel Dunn
    100 N. Center
    Casper, WY 82601
    (307) 267-7758
    Only a prosecutor can file a charge. A person may request that the police file a charge. The prosecutor will decide what the charge will be.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming - Replied: 3/12/2013
    Paul Richmond | Law Office of Paul Richmond
    2023 E. Sims #263
    Port Townsend, WA 98368
    (360) 379-5575
    You should get some paperwork explaining what the charges are.
    Answer Applies to: Washington - Replied: 3/12/2013
    Craig Andersen | Andersen Law PLLC
    10000 NE 7th Ave Suite 330B
    Vancouver, WA 98685
    (360) 397-0111
    In reality, people in the State of Washington can neither press or drop criminal charges. In the State of Washington, only elected prosecutors and sworn law enforcement officers can file and/or dismiss charges. There is one small exception for misdemeanors that involves filing a motion in District Court and asking a judge to force the prosecutor to file charges. But few people know about that procedure and fewer use it. When someone claims they are "pressing charges" what they are really doing is reporting an alleged crime to the police. It is up to the police to make a report and send it to the prosecutor or to make an arrest of the suspect or issue a citation. It is important when facing an investigation to remember one's Constitutional Rights. You have the right to remain silent. Use it! You have the right to speak with an attorney and to have that attorney present during questioning. Insist on it! You have the right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures. Never consent to a search without first consulting an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington - Replied: 3/12/2013
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