Arrests Presented and Prosecutions

After an arrest for suspected criminal activity, the arresting agency presents evidence to the District Attorney's Office to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prove the arrest charges beyond a reasonable doubt, and to file a criminal complaint to initiate court proceedings against the defendant. In San Francisco, this prosecutorial decision to file or to reject arrest charges is called, "Rebooking," and represents the first, and one of the most important, decisions of the District Attorney's Office in the criminal process. In addition to either filing new charges or declining to file charges (discharging the case), in some circumstances, the prosecutor may also take other actions, such as initiating a motion to revoke probation. By combining new filings and other prosecutorial actions, and dividing them by the total number of arrests presented, we measure the total "Action Taken" rate of the office. 

Dashboard Legend

Date Parameter Arrest Date: The date the suspect was booked into county jail for the arresting incident
Unit of Measurement Court Number: The unique combination of a suspect and criminal incident, which may include one or more charges. While one criminal incident may include multiple suspects, the court number is the case number that is specific to each defendant involved in that incident.
Graph

Court No. Presented: Count of court numbers (arrests) presented by law enforcement for review by the SFDA.

Total Actions Taken Ct.: Combined count of court numbers filed or prosecuted by other action by the SFDA.

Total Filed Ct: Count of court numbers filed with new charges by the SFDA.

Action Taken Rate: Combined percentage of court numbers filed or prosecuted by other action by the SFDA of court numbers presented.

Filing Rate Ct.: Percentage of court numbers filed by the SFDA of court numbers presented.

Filters

Case Type: Felony arrest or misdemeanor custodial arrest.

Year: The year that the arrest occured. By clicking the triangle to the left of the year, you may also filter by quarter, month, or day within a given year.

The charging process reflects the work product and collaborative efforts of both the arresting agency, to make appropriate arrests and provide the necessary evidence; and, the prosecutor, to use discretion effectively to file charges in a fair and just manner that advances public safety. There are several police agencies operating in San Francisco, including the University of California Police, BART Police, and the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The vast majority of arrests presented to SFDA are generated by SFPD. 

The District Attorney's Office reviews the following types of arrests:

  • Felony Arrests: All arrests for felony criminal conduct result in a booking into San Francisco County Jail and are reviewed by SFDA within 48 hours. These arrests are included in the dashboard. 
  • Custodial Misdemeanor Arrests: Several categories of misdemeanors, including domestic violence, result in a booking into San Francisco County Jail and are reviewed by the SFDA within 24 hours if the person remains in custody. Some custodial misdemeanor arrests are booked, then issued a citation ("cited out") by the Sheriff's Department to appear in court at a later, "notice to appear" date. These are reviewed by the SFDA prior to the notice to appear date. These arrests are included in the dashboard. 
  • Misdemeanor Citations: Most misdemeanor arrests result in the arresting agency issuing a citation—also called a ticket or summons—which directs the suspect to appear in court at a later, "notice to appear" date. These are reviewed by the SFDA prior to the notice of appear date. Due to paper-based systems for issuing and processing misdemeanor citations in San Francisco, there is a significant lag time between the date a citation is issued and the date an electronic record of the citation is created and can be analyzed for statistical purposes. For this reason, misdemeanor citations are not included in this dashboard at this time. 

Historical Felony Filing Data

The SFDA's internal systems include reliable data dating back to 2011, which is used to populate the dashboard. A research effort using historical San Francisco Superior Court data determined the annual felony filing rate for 2000-2017, presented below. Since 2000, the felony filing rate has averaged 52%, and has been increasing over the past three years. 

Felony Filing graph

*As the statistics are calculated from different sources, there may be discrepancies between this chart and the DA Stat Dashboards.


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