Questions Posted to "Ask a Dispatcher"
Q. Do you have to testify in court if you file charges against someone? I hope not, the incident was tramatic enough!
Dear Juneau Resident,
There are a number of ways a case can be resolved. The charged person can plead guilty. The prosecutor can come to an agreement with the person as to the consequences and that agreement is filed with the court. The prosecutor can decide there is not enough evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt and may not pursue the charges. The other option is the case may go to trial. In that case you would get a subpoena that requires you to testify.
Your stress is understandable but the situation you described is similar to being on a jury or testifying as a witness to a crime. Citizens in every community play a critical role in the justice system because the police are not witnesses most crimes. Criminals actually actively avoid that situation. Often there is justice only when community members are willing to come forward and testify.
You can bring a friend with you to court for support. Both the District Attorney's Office and City Attorney's Office have great victim assistance coordinators who can also provide support.