Develop a SART
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Charging Decisions

After law enforcement officers investigate sexual assaults and arrest suspects, cases are referred to prosecutors for criminal charging decisions. Rules of ethics require prosecutors to refrain from prosecuting cases that are not supported by probable cause.74 Some prosecutors may exercise prosecutorial discretion and use a higher standard in making their charging decisions.75

Factors to consider in making charging decisions include the following:76

  • The probability of a conviction.
  • The nature of the offense.
  • The offender's characteristics.
  • Possible deterrent value of prosecution to the offender and society in general.
  • Aid to other criminal justice goals through non-prosecution.
  • The victim's interests.
  • Possible improper motives of a victim or witness.
  • The age of the offender.
  • Undue hardship caused to the accused.
  • A history of non-enforcement of a statute.
  • Excessive cost of prosecution in relation to the seriousness of the offense.
  • Recommendations of the law enforcement agency involved.
  • The availability of adequate civil remedies.
  • Any mitigating circumstances.