When you have been charged with a crime, you may have a variety of questions. You may wonder how long it will take for your case to be complete from start to finish, if you’re going to do any prison time, and so much more. One of the questions you may have is this: Will your case go to grand jury, and what is the grand jury? If you have been charged with a serious federal-related crime, your case could very well be forwarded to the grand jury, who decides if you should be charged for that specific crime after receiving information from the prosecution. It is actually one of the first procedures in a criminal trial, so you will have answers sooner than other parts of your case.
How a Grand Jury is Different from a Preliminary Hearing
Some states do not use grand juries and will only use preliminary hearings, which are meant to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to go on with the case. These cases are very different from those with grand juries, as they are open to the public and involve lawyers and a judge.
How Proceedings Work
If there will be a grand jury hearing in your case, you should know how the proceedings will work so you can prepare with the help of your attorney. These proceedings tend to be much more relaxed, as there is no judge present and sometimes there are no lawyers, either. The grand jury will have the power to ask the prosecution to see and hear anything they’d like, which opens up many possibilities in your case. These cases are kept in confidence to encourage witnesses to speak without retaliation, and protect the defendant’s reputation.
Two things could happen: The grand jury could choose to indict, which will move your trial along faster in many cases. Or, they could choose not to indict, which could lead to the prosecutor having to demonstrate to the trial judge that there is enough evidence to actually bring your case. As you can see, these are widely complicated matters. Call us today to find out how we can help you prepare for every aspect of your case and get the best results.