What is Criminal Charge?

Legal Definition
A criminal charge is a formal accusation made by a governmental authority asserting that somebody has committed a crime. A charging document, which contains one or more criminal charges or counts, can take several forms, including:

  • complaint
  • information
  • indictment
  • citation
  • traffic ticket

The charging document is what generally starts a criminal case in court. But the procedure by which somebody is charged with a crime and what happens when somebody has been charged varies from country to country and even, within a country, from state to state.

Before a person is proven guilty, the charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
An accusation of crime, formulated in a written, complaint, information, or indictment, and taking shape in a prosecution. U. S. v. Patterson. 150 U. S. 65, 14 Sup. Ct. 20, 37 L Ed. 999; Eason v. Slate, 11 Aria 482.
-- Black's Law Dictionary