Depending on location, the government officer responsible for prosecuting criminals may be known as the District Attorney, Prosecutor, or County Attorney. Regardless of title, this officer may sound like someone the average citizen would prefer to avoid. Doesn’t the D.A. just prosecute criminals?
In many states, District and County Attorneys also help citizens enforce their rights. Kentucky County Attorneys are a good example.
Have you ever been stuck with a bad check? If so, how do you try to collect? Hire a lawyer? File a criminal complaint and wait for the check-writer’s trial to find out if you’ll see any of that money? Many of Kentucky’s County Attorney’s Offices have special programs to help you collect on that bad check – or “cold check” as it’s called in Kentucky. For example, check out the bad check programs in Clark, Fayette, and Jefferson Counties.
If you are you a victim of domestic violence, the County Attorney may have resources to help you. For example, Clark County provides information on warning signs and how to help; McCracken County adds information about how to get a protective order.
If you’ve been a victim of crime and need to file a criminal complaint, the County Attorney can guide you through that process too. Clark and Fayette Counties have web pages; Hopkins County has a downloadable brochure.
Some County Attorney’s offices provide helpful information about court procedures. Most often, that information is to help citizens understand the procedures in criminal cases, but the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office provides information about Family Court procedures and agencies that help with family law issues.
Kentucky is not alone. Some Kansas District Attorneys and County Attorneys have similar programs. For example, see the bad check programs in Haskell and Stevens Counties. The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office has information about consumer fraud.
Wherever you live, the D.A., Prosecutor, or County Attorney isn’t just the person who puts the “bad guys” in jail; he or she can also be your friend in a variety of legal situations. You can find the resources available in your county at CourtReference; just select your state, then choose the Self Help and Legal Research category.