What is an indictment? You’ve been swept into the criminal justice system and now you wonder what to expect in your case, but you hear all these terms being thrown around and don’t know what to expect. Indictments are the formal accusation that takes place against an individual who is suspected of committing a crime. Indictments tend to be obtained for felony charges, some of the harshest crimes you can be charged for.
You might not have known it before, but an indictment against an individual can be obtained before an arrest is actually made. An indictment is a product of sworn testimony. They tend to hold real weight in court.
How the Indictment Comes Into Play
If an indictment is to be brought against an individual, the prosecutor must make their case to the grand jury. The grand jury is responsible for many things, such as reviewing the prosecutor’s evidence against the individual. They are able to determine if the prosecutor had the probable cause to bring the case in the first place.
When these proceedings take place, there is no judge involved in the process. The grand jury will work to review the case and at least 12 of the grand jurors must vote to approve the indictment. If it moves forward, the case can be brought to court. It doesn’t, however, mean that the defendant is automatically guilty.
After the indictment has been approved, the judge will seek the defendant in an arraignment. The arraignment is the hearing that takes place before a judge to determine the charges that are being brought against the defendant. From there, you will be able to make a plea bargain with the prosecutor or move forward to a jury trial.
As you can see, this can become a complicated process and you might need help on your side. We want to help you every step of the way at the Law Office of Peter Blair. Call us for more information.