Request for Prosecution
In Florida, each of the State Attorney’s Offices use a “sworn request for prosecution of a misdemeanor by complainant.” Prosecutors in the intake division make difficult decisions about whether to prosecute a case based on a host of factors.
Some cases begin with an officer initiated arrest, but other types of cases begin with the prosecutor taking the lead role in deciding whether the arrest is made.
Prosecutors have ethical obligations, duties and responsibilities that must be followed when choosing whether or not to prosecute a criminal case. For example, the prosecutor should not file charges if the prosecutor has a conflict of interest.
If the investigating officer is unable or unwilling to make an arrest for a misdemeanor, the officer might provide the alleged victim with a form called the “Sworn Request for Prosecution.” The form is listed as SAO Form No 177 (November 2009).
Part of the form is filled out by the officer. The other part of the form must be completed by the alleged victim if the alleged victim wants the case to be considered for prosecution. The form should be mailed within 10 days after the crime is reported to law enforcement, but no later than 21 days after the crime is reported.
In Hillsborough County, the form for requesting prosecution must be sworn and mailed to the Intake Department at the State Attorney’s Office located at 419 N. Pierce Street, Tampa, FL, 33602-4022.
If the form is received after 21 days, the form explains that the case will not be prosecuted. Also, incomplete or unnotarized forms will not be considered for prosecution.
The form requests that the complainant contact the State Attorney’s Office within 45 days of submitting the request to find out whether any misdemeanor charge has been filed.
In additional to requesting the complainant’s contact information, the form has a section for “facts to establish that a crime was committed” and “facts to establish that defendant committed crime.”
The form provides a place for the alleged victim to “write a brief statement about what happened” and to list any additional witnesses not listed above and their address.
At the end of the form, it provides the following statement which must be affirmed: “I desire prosecution in this case and request the State Attorney’s office to review it for prosecution. I will be present for any required court dates should this case be prosecuted.”
If the State Attorney’s Office decides to prosecute the case, then it will typically direct file an information with the clerk of court which triggers a case number and judge being assigned.
Attorneys on “Request for Prosecution” Investigations in Tampa, FL
If you have questions about the request for prosecutor form used by the State Attorney’s Office or a direct file investigation, then contact the criminal defense attorneys in Tampa, FL, at Sammis Law Firm.
After the alleged victim submits the form, you are also entitled to hire an attorney who can contact the prosecutor with the State Attorney’s Office on your behalf to explain all of the reasons that the case should NOT be prosecuted.
Read more about direct file investigations in DUI cases and for other types of misdemeanor and felony offenses.
At Sammis Law Firm, we represent clients in pending direct file investigations throughout the greater Tampa Bay area including in Tampa and Plant City in Hillsborough County, in Brooksville in Hernando County, in New Port Richey and Dade City in Pasco County, in Clearwater and St. Petersburg in Pinellas County, in Bartow and Winter Haven in Polk County, and in Bradenton in Manatee County, FL.
Contact us to learn more about how crimes are reported to a prosecutor and the role of the prosecutor in the criminal justice system.
This article was last updated on Thursday, June 11, 2020.