The Charging Division of the BCSAO was established in 1999, and operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including holidays and weekends. The screening team is comprised of experienced attorneys and paralegals, who review the filings of documents on all arrests, make decisions to release or charge arrestees based on the facts of the case and principles of law, and recommend pretrial release or detention to Court Commissioners for cases involving violent felonies, firearm charges, and other cases where appropriate. In 2021, the team reviewed over 13,000 arrests. Violent repeat offenders (VRO) are identified, and bail recommendations are also prepared during this screening process. The Charging team collaborates with other law enforcement agencies to ensure that the most accurate and complete data are utilized during the screening process.
The Charging Division works collaboratively with other criminal justice partners to process cases through various programs in addition to the traditional criminal process. These programs are intended to identify high-level offenders and provide alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders.
Prosecutors from the Charging Division also staff District Court Bail Review Hearings.
The goal of the Charging Division is to work collaboratively with other law enforcement partners to improve justice for the public and the accused by utilizing best practices and screening decisions with the most complete and accurate data.