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Theoretical question:

What happens if you come to police and report your own crime that happened some time ago, but the police can't find any evidence it happened.

Let's say you come and say you beat up a guy or raped someone, but there is no evidence. What happens then?

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First, as Mark Johnson said.

Second, the job of police and prosecutors is not to put people into jail, their job is to put guilty people into jail.

If you go to the police and tell them that you beat up a person, then before they investigate, they know that either you are guilty of assault, or you mistakenly believe that you are guilty of assault, or you are a phantasist who enjoys confessing non-existing crimes to the police.

The police will either investigate which one it is, and may prosecute you either for assault or for wasting police time, or they may decide based on your behaviour that there was never any assault and not investigate further. I suspect they will at least question you about details of the claimed assault, to decide whether the crime is real or not.

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In general, the police must investigate and based on the result a State Attorney will deside if charges are justified. This will then be submitted to a judge who makes a final decision.

The exact process is determined by the relevant jurisdiction.

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As stated in the previous replies, the police will investigate your claim of committing a crime starting with whatever information you provide to them. After their investigation is over usually there would be a preliminary hearing held in order to allow the grand jury to determine whether there is in fact probable cause (not guilt) for criminal charges. If they feel there is enough the grand jury will file an indictment which means you are formally being charged at that time. I will say the cards are most definitely stacked against you at this stage of the process. The burden of proof is a non issue for the prosecution at these types of hearings since all they need to do is present the facts in such a way that reveals the possibility a crime was committed which for you translates into a likely prison sentence. My advice to you would be to let sleeping dogs lie. Aside from some type of unspeakable atrocity there's not much that would require claiming responsibility and punishment this long after the fact. However, if you did do something you honestly feel guilty about there's only one other soul that can give you peace in this situation and that is your higher power. Speak to your Creator from the heart and soul; He will relieve you of the suffering you've endured and you will once again feel whole; finally, knowing all is once again balanced, tranquility will once again be your welcome companion.

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    Well, I made up this question purely as a game of thought, but ty for your answer. :) – Serg Z. Dec 22 '19 at 14:57
  • In the 1970s a man went to the UK police and said that in 1940 he was a sailor in the navy and had murdered a prostitute in Liverpool, while he was on shore leave. They had gone to an empty house which had been damaged by a German bomb and after having sex, he said, he killed her and went back to his ship. Subsequently a further German air raid had destroyed the house. More than 4,000 people were killed in the Liverpool blitz, many without trace. The police took his statement and, after consideration, told him to go away. There was no prospect of a conviction, and no charge could be brought. – Michael Harvey Dec 25 '19 at 12:41

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