File a Citizen’s Complaint
To file a complaint against an adult (18 years of age or older) for a crime or violation that occurred in McCracken County, you must go in person to the McCracken County Attorney’s Office located in the McCracken County Courthouse at 301 South 6th Street, Paducah, Kentucky during the regular business hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
To file against a juvenile (a person under the age of 18 years), you must go to the McCracken County Court Designated Worker’s Office located at 621 Washington Street, Paducah, Kentucky, 42002. The telephone number for the Court Designated Worker’s Office is 270-575-7068.
When filing a complaint, bring the following items with you:
1. You MUST have a police report showing a legitimate documentation of the alleged crime by law enforcement and verifying that you are the victim.
2. Your police report must have the name, address, telephone number, date of birth or social security number or driver’s license number of the person you seek charges against.
3. You must present all evidence in support of your charge (i.e. emails, text messages, voicemails, photos, statements of witnesses, receipts, etc.)
4. You must present the names, addresses and telephone numbers for all witnesses.
5. If you sought medical care, you must provide a copy of your medical records and bills.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Press the (+) beside the question to display the answer.
An employee of the McCracken County Attorney’s Office will ask you to execute a criminal charge information sheet and a sworn affidavit as well as fill out a criminal charge intake form on which you will provide all the detailed information related to your request. The affidavit will be reviewed by the Assistant McCracken County Attorney responsible for criminal prosecutions and a determination will be made as to whether a complaint will be taken and, if so, what charges it will contain.
If it is determined by the McCracken County Attorney’s office that criminal charges are appropriate, a judge will review the complaint and issue one of the following:
A Criminal Summons: A summons is an order that the defendant appear in the McCracken District Court. This is a notice and not an order for arrest. The summons will advise the defendant to appear in the McCracken District Court at a specified date and time for the arraignment (the first call of the case)
An Arrest Warrant: An arrest warrant is an order requesting any appropriate law enforcement officer arrest the defendant.
The complaint is then forwarded to the sheriff’s department in the county where the defendant lives for service of the summons or arrest warrant. The issuance of either the summons or arrest warrant does not guarantee an immediate court appearance or an immediate arrest. Further, if a defendant is arrested, he may be released after appearing before an appropriate judge and may be ordered to return at a later date.
After the criminal summons or arrest warrant is served, an arraignment is the first step in the court process. The charges are read and the defendant is advised of his/her rights. For misdemeanors and violations, the defendant may enter a plea of “guilty” or "not guilty".
If the defendant entered a "not guilty" plea at the arraignment, the next step is a continued first appearance followed by a pretrial conference. At a pretrial conference, resolution of the case is explored. If there is no resolution, a trial is set.
Diversion is a possible conclusion of misdemeanors and violations. Diversion allows a defendant to avoid a conviction if court-ordered conditions are met. Not all defendants are eligible for diversion. The court will make a determination if a defendant is eligible for diversion.
If diversion is not ordered or is not successful, misdemeanor and violations will proceed through the McCracken District Court. If a guilty plea is not entered or if the action is not dismissed, the case will likely proceed to a bench trial or jury trial. After trial, a defendant may be found “guilty” or “not guilty”. If found “not guilty”, the complaint is dismissed. If found “guilty”, the defendant, in addition to being required to pay court costs, can receive a sentence containing the following:
- A fine; and/or
- Jail time
If jail time is part of a sentence, the defendant can be placed on probation (conditional discharge) for up to two years. If the defendant meets all the conditions placed on him/her during that period, he/she will not serve the jail time.
Many times cases have to be continued for various reasons. Please be prepared for this possibility. The McCracken County Attorney’s Office will make every effort to insure all charges are prosecuted in a timely and appropriate manner.