Q: Minor car wreck, police report says "charges pending". How do I find out if formal charges are ever actually filed?
A: Depending on the charge(s) and the jurisdiction, you could receive a notice to appear at a "preliminary inquiry," which requires one to report to a court commissioner to be formally advised of one's charges, one's right to an attorney and other pertinent information. This generally occurs when traffic citations calling for a possible jail sentence are issued. You might also receive, via mailing, a summons to appear in court on a designated date, at which time you can be served with charging documents by the State's Attorney's Office and advised of your rights by the presiding judge. You can also check the Judiciary Case Search on line, under your name, and determine if any charges against you exist. The answer to your question largely depends on the particular charge(s) that you may face.
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