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Consideration of charges

The prosecutor is a government official, who is responsible for making sure that a crime leads to legal consequences. In more serious crimes, the prosecutor is involved in the preliminary investigation already from the very start. The prosecutor handles the consideration of charges, where it is determined whether a a suspect is prosecuted or not. Charges must be made when there are reasons to believe that the suspect is guilty.

If the prosecutor prosecutes, he/she shall prepare an application for a summons and the case will be taken to the district court to be settled. The prosecutor may also decide on mediation, issue a fine or make a decision not to prosecute. The most common reasons for non-prosecution decisions include the lack of evidence, it is a minor crime or the case has been settled. A crime that has legally expired can not be prosecuted.

The plaintiff, or the victim, has the so-called secondary right of prosecution. If the prosecutor has decided not to prosecute, the plaintiff can still decide to press charges and take the case to the Court of Justice to be settled. In this case the plaintiff is responsible for the case. If the case is lost, he/she may be responsible for his/her own lawyer costs and the other party’s lawyer costs.