What Is A Missing Complaint?

What does a missing complaint mean? Many clients call us regarding this issue, once they have appeared in court on their pending criminal case. The criminal clerk’s office in the Orange County Courthouses tends to refer the alleged defendant to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for answers. Thus, you proceed to inquire about the pending criminal case with the DA’s office at the courthouse you appeared.

The receptionist or clerk at the front desk looks you up by your name and or date of birth. She tells you that there is no criminal case filing currently, resulting in the missing complaint. Unfortunately, this answer is vague and doesn’t sit well with most people wanting to resolve this matter as soon as possible.

Here are the possible reasons the criminal complaint is “missing”:

  1.  The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the file or has not had time to look at it.

  2.  The criminal complaint has been sent back to the arresting police agency for further investigation or clarification.

  3.  The Orange County District Attorney’s Office simply didn’t file the case by your scheduled court appearance date.

Most people are still not satisfied with the possible reasons given above, they want this gone and now! The truth of the matter is, the DA’s office is extremely busy and some filings can take up to a year or longer depending on the complexity of the case. In California, the DA’s office has up to three years to file a felony criminal case against someone and up to a year for a misdemeanor. This time frame usually begins from the date of arrest or the date of the alleged crime taking place.


What's Next For The Missing Complaint?

It’s difficult to say when the DA may file the criminal case or reject it. A “case reject” or “DA reject” ultimately means the case was never filed and there will be no future inquiry into the previous alleged charges. In most cases, a letter will be sent to appear once the case is filed. However, we have clients complaining they never received a letter in the mail, resulting in a bench warrant for their arrest. This is due to a false address given at the time of arrest/citation or the person has moved from the prior address given. Either way, it’s good to check with the Orange County Superior Court or the Orange County Sheriff’s Department on a bi-weekly basis. You may check the status of the criminal case with the Orange County Superior Courts and arrest warrant using this online system.

DISCLAIMER: Do not rely solely on the information provided with the online services. You should make contact with the court clerk’s office or consult with a criminal defense attorney to further verify the information obtained from the site.

If Fullerton Bail Bonds posted a bail bond on the missing complaint case, we will check the court system periodically to see if a case is filed. This is a free service and we will notify the client upon filing of the case. Furthermore, if the criminal case is filed 15 business days after the original appearance date on the bail bond, we will post a complimentary bail bond on that case only, free of charge.

What Not To Do With A Missing Complaint

Please do not mistaken our opinions on this article as legal advice, you should consult with an attorney for that. However, with over twenty years of experience in the bail bonds industry and seeing thousands of clients, we can speak about our clients experiences with what not to do with a missing complaint. First and foremost, you shouldn’t constantly be calling the District Attorney’s Office trying to get an update on the case. We believe this puts you on the “radar” again, so to speak. We obviously don’t like the lingering criminal charges out there, but you don’t want to bring further attention to the file, thus stop the inquiries.

Furthermore, don’t contact the arresting agency (police department/sheriff’s department) or investigator handling the file, especially if they are going to file criminal charges against you. Any criminal defense attorney will tell you that any information you provide can be used against you in a court of law. Many people don’t realize this, thinking they are being helpful or cooperative in resolving the issue. This can only make things worse, so refrain from calling the arresting agency.

It’s completely understandable to be stressed about pending criminal charges, there is obviously nothing pleasurable about it. However, we must continue with our daily lives as usual and try to minimize the emotions involved during this difficult time period. Worrying about today is hard enough, so worrying about a missing complaint does no good, after all, it may be missing for forever.