What happens if criminal charges are pursued?
First, you must make a police report and agree to a full investigation. The DA’s office will then decide whether there is enough evidence to present the case to the Grand Jury. If the DA’s office decides there is not enough evidence, the case will end there. You are entitled to ask questions and be provided with information from the DA’s office about your case and the steps of the legal system – don’t be shy about asking questions!
If the DA decides to present the case to the Grand Jury, there are three possible outcomes: an indictment of the suspect (called a “true-bill”), and then the case goes to trial; a “no-bill,” meaning the Grand Jury decides not enough evidence exists to indict, and the case ends; or a “pass” which also means the case ends there.
If the suspect is indicted for trial and pleads “not guilty,” there will be several hearings before the actual trial. You will be subpoenaed to testify as a witness. The Assistant DA assigned to your case can give you information on the trial process and your part in it. It is a good idea to utilize an advocate from the Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) to help you prepare for the emotional experience of providing witness testimony. The entire criminal trial process could take weeks, months, or even years.
Does it matter when I file criminal charges?
Prosecutions are more successful in cases where the victim reports the assault to the authorities as quickly as possible. However, some cases are pursued even when there has been some time delay. It is up to the DA to determine whether to pursue the case, so it is worth checking with the DA’s office if you are unsure.
If criminal charges are not pursued, do I have other options?
Yes. Whether or not criminal charges or pursued, you have other options: you may file a civil suit, or you can pursue disciplinary action on campus (if the perpetrator is a currently enrolled student). Details about this option can be found beginning on page 25.