Citizen Complaints

Citizen complaints refer to a process that allows private citizens to file criminal charges against another person through the District Court Commissioner’s Office. The citizen complainant must take an oath, under the penalty of perjury, declaring that all of the information that is being given to the commissioner is truthful and correct to the best of the citizen’s knowledge. Upon review of the citizen’s written complaint, the commissioner must determine if there is probable cause to issue a summons or an arrest warrant for the defendant.

Reviewing & Screening the Case

If the commissioner​ issues an arrest warrant, the citizen complainant is given one week to go to the SAO for the office to review and screen the case for prosecution. The commissioner gives the complainant the option of two different dates in which to appear at the SAO. The complainant is directed to bring all evidence needed to help prove the case, including the complete names of potential witnesses and their addresses, and, if applicable, photographs, telephone records and other documentation and information.

If the commissioner issues a summons in lieu of an arrest warrant, the citizen complainant is given three weeks to go to the SAO in order for the case to be reviewed and screened.


Once the reviewing ASA has screened the case, two determinations are made:
  1. Whether or not the case will proceed at all, and if so,
  2. How the case will proceed
If a determination is made to proceed, the SAO will elect to refer the case to:
  • Mediation
  • Diversion program
  • District Court for prosecution
Finally, the SAO may simply decline to proceed and consequently dismiss the case.