phone (270) 827-5753
fax (270) 827-6032

Criminal Prosecution

The Henderson County Attorney’s office, Criminal Action Division is responsible for the prosecution of violations of criminal law in Henderson County within the district courts for all traffic and misdemeanor offenses, including DUI’s, cold checks, and domestic violence. The County Attorney’s office is also responsible for prosecutions of juvenile offenses and conducting preliminary hearings on felony offenses. In addition to prosecuting crimes, the County Attorney’s office assists individuals in seeking guardianship over loved ones and represents the Cabinet for Families and Children in Dependency, Neglect, and Abuse cases before the Henderson Family Court. The County Attorney is also a member of the Henderson District Court’s Juvenile Drug Court Team which is aimed at early intervention and treatment of teen addicts. The office is responsible for reviewing reports of criminal offenses submitted by the Kentucky State Police, Henderson Police Department, and the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department.

The Criminal Process

If you are the victim of a crime it is important that you understand the process of bringing criminal charges. You need to contact the appropriate police agency to report the crime. If the crime occurred within the city limits of Henderson contact, the Henderson Police Department. If the crime occurred outside the Henderson city limits, contact the Henderson Sheriff’s Department or the Kentucky State Police.

An officer will begin an investigation and write a report containing all information received during the investigation. Upon completion of the officer’s investigation the report it is submitted to the County Attorney for review. If there is probable cause to believe that offense occurred and the defendant committed the offense, then a warrant or summons is issued and signed by the reporting officer and district judge. Once the warrant or summons is signed, it is then served upon the defendant. If it is a warrant the defendant will be arrested and taken to jail. If it is a summons, the defendant will be given a date to appear before the court. Once the defendant appears in court, a number of things may happen. The case may be continued to another court date (which may happen often for a number of reasons), the case may be dismissed, the case may be set for pre-trial conference and trial; or the defendant may enter a guilty plea and be sentenced by the judge.

Our office understands that the judicial system can be very confusing and intimidating. We make every effort to use our role in the process to keep things moving quickly. If you have concerns about a particular case, please contact a member of our prosecution team at (270) 827-5753.

Criminal Glossary of Terms:

Arraignment

The charges are read, the defendant is advised of his or her rights, and a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered.

Arrest Warrant

The defendant will be arrested, taken to jail and later arraigned in District Court. An arrest warrant must be issued by a Henderson County District Judge’s Office.

Criminal Summons

A Summons is an order that the defendant appear in District Court. This is a notice and not an arrest warrant. The Summons will advise the defendant to appear in Court for the arraignment.

Felony

A criminal offense punishable by death or imprisonment for one year or more.  There is no statute of limitations on felony charges.

Grand Jury

A jury of 12 to 23 persons convened in private session to evaluate accusations against persons charged with crime and to determine whether the evidence warrants an indictment.

Indictment

A formal written accusation, drawn up and submitted to a grand jury by the public prosecuting attorney, charging one or more persons with a crime.

Misdemeanor

A criminal offense less serious than a felony, punishable by up to a year in jail, a $500 fine, or both.  There is a one year statute of limitations on misdemeanor charges.  The criminal complaint must be issues within the one year period.

Preliminary Hearing

A proceeding before a judicial officer in which the officer must decide whether a crime was committed, whether the crime occurred within the territorial jurisdiction of the court, and whether there is probable cause to believe that the defendant committed the crime.

Pre-trial Conference

A court appearance which allows both sides of the case to negotiate, file motions, and/or set the case for trial.

Restitution

The act of making good or compensating for loss, damage or injury.

Subpoena

A written document requiring an appearance in court to give testimony.

Trial

A jury will hear the evidence and render a verdict of guilty or not guilty.

Violation

A criminal offense punishable by a fine only.

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