Using evidence discovered through the investigation and the input received from the team, the Prosecutor's Office determines if there is enough evidence to take the case before a grand jury.
The grand jury consists of 9 anonymous citizens. They decide if there is enough evidence (probable cause) to indict the case and then set the case for trial. They make this decision by listening to the evidence gathered during the investigation and then voting on how the case should proceed. This voting is done in secret and the defendant is not present at this proceeding. Victim witness staff will notify you regarding the grand jury decision as well as other proceedings related to your case.
If enough evidence is found, the case will be placed on a court docket for trial. This case can also be settled by agreement without trial. This is commonly known as a "negotiated plea". Many cases are settled this way.
A "negotiated plea" is reached when the Assistant Prosecutor, after conferring with the victim, talks with the defense attorney and the judge, and all parties agree on a charge and a possible sentence. The offender may have to pay fines, do jail time or prison time, and/or be placed on community control. In a "negotiated plea," a conviction will appear on his/her record and he/she may have to register as a sex offender.