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Frequently Asked Questions

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FAQs
 
1. WHO IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR OUR COUNTY? CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT HIM?  
The District Attorney of Santa Clara County is Jeff Rosen, a veteran attorney who has prosecuted many high profile cases in Santa Clara County.
 
2. WHERE IS YOUR OFFICE LOCATED?
The District Attorney's Office has three locations. Our central location is based in the heart of San Jose. In the south county, there is an office in Morgan Hill. For residents in the north county, there is an office in Palo Alto.
 
3. WHO DECIDES WHAT CHARGES TO FILE, AND HOW DO THEY MAKE THAT DECISION?
Most cases begin with a complaint and warrant request by a law enforcement agency. A prosecutor thoroughly reviews all reports and records concerning the case, including witness statements. The prosecutor also reviews the suspect's prior criminal or traffic record.  At this stage, the prosecutor uses a Four-Prong Test to determine whether a person should be charged with a crime and, if so, what the crime should be. Occasionally, the reviewing prosecutor sends the case back to the police to conduct additional investigation.
 
4. CAN I REPORT A CRIME DIRECTLY TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE?  
Yes, there are many cases where the District Attorney's Office does take crime reports. Crimes involving elder fraud, insurance fraud (specifically worker's compensation, health and disability insurance) , or real estate fraud, elder or dependent adult abuse/neglect, consumer protection, high tech crimes, and the misconduct of public officials may be reported to our office. If the crime does not fall within these parameters, please contact the local law enforcement agency where the crime occurred. If the agency feels that a crime has been committed, they will forward the report to our Office for review.  If this is an emergency, please dial 911.
 
5. HOW MANY LAWYERS ARE IN THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE?  HOW IS THE OFFICE ORGANIZED?
We have approximately 188 prosecutors in the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office assigned to different specialized teams.
 
6. I AM A VICTIM IN A CHARGED CASE. DOES THIS MEAN I WILL HAVE TO TESTIFY IN COURT?
Not every victim is required to testify in court.  Many cases resolve prior to trial by way of a negotiated disposition.  Negotiated dispositions are designed to balance the interests of both parties, as long as it protects the public and provides justice to the victim.  This may involve adding, deleting, or changing the crimes charged in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea.  Often times, there is an agreed upon sentence or sentencing range in a negotiated disposition. A victim’s concerns and rights are always part of a prosecutor’s consideration in negotiating a disposition. 
 
7. I WAS THE VICTIM OF A CRIME. CAN YOU TELL ME THE NAME OF THE DEFENDANT AND THE NEXT COURT DATE?
Yes, the District Attorney's Office can provide you with the name of the defendant and the next court date, if charges have been filed. Please feel free to call 408-299-7400 or email our Office at publicinformation@da.sccgov.org.
 
8. I AM THE VICTIM OF A CRIME. DOES THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE REPRESENT ME? CAN THE PROSECUTOR GIVE ME LEGAL ADVICE?
The District Attorney represents the People of the State of California and does not give legal advice on behalf of individual citizens. For private matters please contact a private attorney. Lawyer referral services are available through the Santa Clara County Bar Association and the California State Bar.
 
9. I WAS THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME AND I AM HAVING A HARD TIME PAYING FOR MEDICAL, FUNERAL, MENTAL HEALTH, AND OTHER RELATED LOSSES. WHERE CAN I GET HELP?
Our Victim-Witness Assistance Program is here to provide you with information about the California State Victim Compensation Program, crisis counseling, and other services. Victim advocates are available in the District Attorney's Office by calling 408-299-7400 or through Silicon Valley Faces at 408-295-2656.
 

10. I AM THE VICTIM OF A CRIME. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHEN AN INMATE WILL BE RELEASED FROM PRISON? WHO SHOULD I CONTACT? 

The Santa Clara County Department of Corrections provides a notification system called Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE) that allows victims to receive telephone or email alerts regarding the release, transfer, or escape of a designated inmate. VINE is available in English, Vietnamese, and Spanish. Anyone can call 1-800-464-3568 or register online. All registrations are confidential.

 

11. I HAVE LOST MONEY AS A RESULT OF A CRIME. WILL YOUR OFFICE HELP ME RECEIVE COMPENSATION, OR DO I HAVE TO GO TO CIVIL COURT FOR THAT?
It is the District Attorney's policy to assist victims of crimes in receiving restitution from convicted defendants in every appropriate case. Please contact our Office at 408-792-2599 or visit the Restitution and Victim Services Unit page for additional information.
 
12. MY BROTHER FORGED MY MOTHER'S NAME ON HER GRANT DEED AND TRANSFERRED RIGHTS TO HIMSELF! I WAS SUPPOSED TO INHERIT HALF OF THE PROPERTY! CAN YOU HELP?
Yes, our Office has a committed team to deter, investigate and prosecute real estate fraud cases. The Real Estate Fraud Unit can be reached at 408-808-3787.
 
13. MY ELDERLY FATHER IS A VICTIM OF A SCAM. HE WAS TOLD HE JUST WON THE CANADIAN LOTTERY, BUT HE NEEDS TO PAY THE TAXES BEFORE HE RECEIVES HIS WINNINGS. HE BELIEVED THEM AND WIRED THEM THE "FEE". CAN YOU HELP HIM?
Yes, if you or someone you know has been a victim of Elder Fraud, please contact our Office at 1-855-DA-ELDER (1-855-323-5337). Our Elder Fraud Unit is a specialized team that investigates and prosecutes financial crimes against the elderly.
 
14. A LOCAL STORE ADVERTISED A PRODUCT AT A GIVEN PRICE WITHOUT DISCLOSING THAT THERE WERE ADDITIONAL HIDDEN COSTS. CAN I GET THE ADVERTISED PRICE? WHO CAN I TALK TO?
All ads must be truthful and non-deceptive. If you believe that an ad is misleading, give our Consumer Unit a call at 408-792-2880 or file a complaint online.
 
15. I CHANGED MY MIND AND I WANT TO DROP CHARGES. CAN I DO THIS?
The District Attorney's Office represents the People of the State of California, not an individual victim. The District Attorney's Office will make the final decision as to whether or not charges will be dismissed. However, a victim's wishes will always be taken into consideration.
 
16. A FAMILY MEMBER HAS BEEN ARRESTED AND I'M NOT SURE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. WHAT ARE THE STEPS IN A CRIMINAL CASE, AND WHAT HAPPENS AT THEM? 
The criminal process can be confusing. Visit the District Attorney's Anatomy of a Crime page to learn more about the various steps in a criminal case.
 
17. MY SON IS A JUVENILE CHARGED WITH A CRIME. WILL HIS JUVENILE PROCEEDINGS/RECORDS BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC?
Proceedings in juvenile court are not open to the public. Juvenile court attendees generally only include the juvenile, parents or guardian, probation department representative, attorneys involved in the case, and certain court personnel. Access to juvenile records are also restricted and require a written petition to the Court for review and release. In certain circumstances including rape, murder or assault, a juvenile may be charged as an adult. In those cases, the juvenile will appear in adult court. Adult court proceedings are open to the public.  
 
18. I AM THE DEFENDANT IN A CASE AND I CAN'T SEEM TO GET IN TOUCH WITH MY LAWYER. CAN I SPEAK DIRECTLY TO THE PROSECUTOR ON MY CASE?  
No.  Prosecutors are governed by a code of ethics that prohibits talking to a criminal defendant who is already represented by an attorney.
 
19. I WAS SERVED A SUBPOENA. DO I HAVE TO GO TO COURT?
Yes, a subpoena is an order of the court. If you fail to come to court, the judge may impose a fine or a jail sentence. Be sure to bring your subpoena with you to court. 
 
20. WHERE CAN I GET A COPY OF A POLICE REPORT?
Please contact the agency that created the report.
 
21. HOW DO I FIND OUT IF A PERSON HAS A CRIMINAL RECORD?
Unless it is part of a current felony complaint, the District Attorney's Office may not discuss a person's prior record.
 
22. I AM TRYING TO GET IN CONTACT WITH A PARTICULAR DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY. HOW DO I FIND THAT INFORMATION?
You may find their contact information in our Attorney Directory.
 
23. WHAT IS THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S JURISDICTION?
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office prosecutes misdemeanor and felony crimes throughout Santa Clara County. The jurisdiction covers over 1,300 square miles, is comprised of 15 cities, and is the largest prosecuting office in Northern California. We serve a population of about 1.8 million people.
 
24. HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.
The District Attorney has a rich history dating back to 1850. To learn more, you may visit History of the District Attorney's Office.
 
25. I HAVE A COMPLAINT AGAINST THE PROSECUTOR ASSIGNED TO THE CASE. HOW DO I CONTACT YOU AND HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?
Please call 408-299-7400 or email publicinformation@da.sccgov.org any concern you may have about the District Attorney’s Office and we will respond by telephone or in writing.
 
26. WHAT IF I HAVE A QUESTION THAT IS NOT ANSWERED IN YOUR FAQS?
You may contact the District Attorney's Office with any question you may have. We are located at 70 West Hedding, West Wing in San Jose. Our telephone number is 408-299-7400. Or feel free to send us an email at publicinformation@da.sccgov.org.