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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who should I call if I have an emergency?
A: For immediate emergency assistance, please dial 911.
 
Q: Can I report a crime to the District Attorney's Office?
A: Crimes must be reported to the police department or other law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the city or county area where the crime occurred. For example, if the crime occurred in the City of Riverside, it should be reported to the Riverside Police Department. If the crime occurred in an unincorporated area that does not have a police department, the crime should be reported to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The District Attorney’s Office generally does not initiate reports. If the law enforcement agency determines that charges should be filed, the case will be referred to the District Attorney’s Office.
 
Some crimes involving consumer fraud, environmental crimes, or crimes involving misconduct of public officials may be reported directly to the District Attorney's Special Prosecution Section. Please see our Special Prosecutions page.
 
Q: Who decides what charges to file and how do they make that decision?
A: A deputy district attorney reviews each case brought to the District Attorney's Office by local law enforcement agencies. The deputy district attorney decides the appropriate filing decisions based on the law and the evidence in the case.
 
Q: I am the defendant on a criminal case. Can I speak with the prosecutor on my case?
A: No. Criminal Prosecutors are prohibited from talking to a criminal defendant who is represented by an attorney. Please contact your attorney if you have questions about your case. 
 
Q: How can I find out if a person is currently in jail in Riverside County?
A: Information on inmates currently housed in Riverside County Jail can be found on the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Inmate Locator website.
 
If a person is serving a prison sentence in a California State Prison, you can find the location of the inmate on the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation website.
 
Q: I am the victim and I want to drop the charges. Can I do that?
A: The District Attorney’s Office represents the People of the State of California, not the individual victim, and only the prosecutor can file or dismiss charges. Therefore, a victim does not have the power to “press charges” or to “drop charges” in a criminal case. 
 
Although the prosecutor makes the final charging decisions in a criminal case, the victim's opinion is important. The prosecutor will always take the victim’s wishes into account when making decisions.
 
Q: I am the victim of a violent crime. Will the District Attorney's Office pay for my hospital bill and my lost wages? How can I collect compensation for pain and suffering?
A: The District Attorney’s Office does not pay for hospital bills or lost wages. However, the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) may be able to help you with unreimbursed crime-related medical expenses and lost income. To receive assistance in applying for CalVCB benefits, call or visit the Family Justice Center closest to you or call the Claims Unit at 951-955-5460..  The District Attorney’s Office does not compensate for pain and suffering. You may need to speak with a private attorney.
 
Q: If I receive a subpoena, do I have to go to court?
A: Yes, you must go to court if you receive a subpoena. If you fail to do so, the judge could impose a fine or a jail sentence. Please bring your subpoena with you to court.
 
Q: Where is the court?
A: Courts are located in locations throughout the county. If you receive a subpoena, please look at the address on the subpoena to ensure that you appear in the correct courthouse and courtroom.
 
See our Court Locations page for the locations of criminal courthouses across the county. To find a courthouse that handles non-criminal matters, please see the Riverside County Superior Court website.
 
Q: If I miss work to testify, will the District Attorney's Office pay for my loss in wages?
A: No. Witnesses must go to court to testify, even if they have to miss work. This is a civic duty imposed upon all citizens in order to insure a just and fair judicial system.
 
Q: Why am I a witness? I did not see the crime happen.
A: Witnesses in criminal cases are not limited to people who see a crime occur. A person who did not see a crime may still know something about the defendant, other witnesses, the evidence, or something else that is relevant to the criminal prosecution. If you do not know why you are testifying in a particular case, ask the prosecutor who is assigned to the case.
 
Q: When I testify in court, do I have to talk in front of the defendant?
A: Yes. The defendant has a constitutional right to be present in court to hear what all witnesses say about him/her. When testifying, you will likely be questioned first by the prosecutor, and then by the defendant’s attorney. 
 
Q: I am the victim in a criminal case. Is the District Attorney my attorney, or do I need to get my own attorney in a civil case?
A: The District Attorney represents the People of the State of California in criminal court, and is not your attorney. The District Attorney's Office does not have authority to prosecute cases or to sue civilly on behalf of individual citizens.
 
Q: I am the victim in a criminal case. Can you tell me the name of the defendant and the defendant's next court date?
A: If the District Attorney's Office has filed charges, we can provide you with the name of the defendant and the next court date. To obtain this information, call the Division of Victim Services in Riverside at (951) 955-5450, in Indio at (760) 863-8408, or in Murrieta at (951) 304-5680. You may also call toll-free at (866) 217-3769.
 
Q: The judge ordered the defendant to pay restitution to me, but I have not received anything. Who can help me?
A: The Probation Department in Riverside may be able to help you. Please call (951) 358-7500.
 
You may also contact the District Attorney's Division of Victim Services in Riverside at (951) 955-5450, in Indio at (760) 863-8408, or in Murrieta at (951) 304-5680.  You may also call toll-free at (866) 217-3769.
 
Q: I've been cheated by a contractor, tradesman, shopkeeper, other person who provides labor or services. Can the District Attorney's Office help me?
A: The DA's Special Prosecution Section may be able to help or refer you to an agency that may can help you. Please see the Special Prosecutions page here.
 
Additional information on outside agencies that may be able to help can be found at:
 
(800) 321-2752
 
(800) 344-9940
 
(909) 835-6064
 
(951)782-4250
 
The Riverside County Community Action Partnership can assist with mediating disputes in a variety of areas. Please see their website.
 
For Small Claims, the Riverside County Small Claims Advisor can be reached at (951) 413-5353.
 
Q: I think someone is using my credit card or has stolen my driver's license. What do I do?
A: Resources related to identity theft and the Identity Theft Registry can be found at the State of California Department of Justice website.
 
The California Department of Justice Identity Theft Registry can be reached at (888) 880-0240 and the Identify Theft Resource Center can be reached at (858) 693-7935.
 
You may also report a crime to the police department or other law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the city or county area where the crime occurred. For example, if the crime occurred in the City of Riverside, it should be reported to the Riverside Police Department. If the crime occurred in an unincorporated area that does not have a police department, the crime should be reported to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. The District Attorney’s Office generally does not initiate reports. If the law enforcement agency determines that charges should be filed, the case will be referred to the District Attorney’s Office.
 
Q: I want a divorce, I want to sue someone, or I want to adopt a child. Can the District Attorney's Office help me?
A: No. The District Attorney's Office cannot provide legal advice or take legal action in such matters. You should consult with a private attorney.
 
If you do not have a lawyer, you can call Legal Aid, Inland Counties Legal Services at (951) 683-7108, the Riverside County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service in Riverside at (951) 682-7520, or the Desert Bar Association in Palm Desert at (760) 568-5555.
 
Q: I want a restraining order to keep my husband/wife, boyfriend/girlfriend, or other person away from me. Will the District Attorney's Office do this for me?
 
A: No, but a private attorney may be able to help you. If you do not have a lawyer, you can call the Riverside County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service at (951) 682-7520, the Desert Bar Association in Palm Desert at (760) 568-5555, or Inland Counties Legal Services at (951) 683-7108.
 
For information and assistance, you can also contact Shelter From the Storm (800-328-SAFE) or the District Attorney's Division of Victim Services in Riverside at (951) 955-5450, in Indio at (760) 863-8408, or in Murrieta at (951) 304-5680. You may also call toll-free at (866) 217-3769.
 
Q: I need child support. Can you help me?
 
A: No. Contact the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) for assistance.
 
(951) 955-4100 – Riverside
(760) 863-7100 – Indio
 
Q: I am/was a criminal defendant and want to get my property or firearms returned. Can the District Attorney’s Office help me? 
 
A: Please contact your attorney, not the District Attorney’s Office.
 
Q: I want to file a complaint about a police officer or deputy sheriff. Can the District Attorney's Office help me?
 
A: No. You will need to report the matter to the law enforcement officer's employing agency. That agency is required by law to receive a complaint, investigate the matter, and respond back to the complaining party.
 
Q: I have a complaint against the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. How do I contact you?
 
A: Please send your complaint, in writing, to:
 
District Attorney Michael Hestrin
Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
3960 Orange Street
Riverside, CA 92501
 
Please include all your contact information, any related criminal case numbers, and enclose copies of any relevant documents that may support your complaint. Ensure that you keep the original documents. Upon receipt of your complaint, the District Attorney’s Office will investigate the matter and respond.
 
Q: How do I report a Brown Act or open meeting violation?
 
A: Please submit your complaint, in writing, to:
 
Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
ATTN: Public Integrity Unit
3960 Orange Street
Riverside, CA 92501
 
Q: How do I report suspected corruption by an elected person or body? 
 
A: Please submit your complaint, in writing, to:
 
Riverside County District Attorney’s Office
ATTN: Public Integrity Unit
3960 Orange Street
Riverside, CA 92501
 
Q: Can I talk to Michael Hestrin? I think he's the person who is working on my case.
 
A: Mr. Hestrin is the elected District Attorney of Riverside County, and, as such, his name appears on most court documents and office correspondence just above the name of the prosecutor who prepared the document. The person who is working on your case is most likely the person who actually signed the court document or the office correspondence. Please call our offices in Riverside at (951) 955-5400, in Indio at (760) 863-8216, or in Murrieta at (951) 304-5400 to talk with the prosecutor handling your case or to arrange a meeting.
 

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