Many people might have heard the terms before but are not fully aware of their meaning when it comes to criminal charges and the legal process. Terms like indictment are thrown around on popular TV shows without a thorough explanation of what they mean. It is important that you know what these crucial terms mean if you or a loved one is charged with a serious crime.
What Is an Indictment?
An indictment is defined as a formal charge or accusation that you perpetrated a serious crime. An indictment is needed for a trial to take place and for the person being charged to be pursued on a higher level. An indictment does not come down simply because someone accuses you of doing something.
For an indictment to be filed, the case must be presented to a grand jury first. The grand jury will do a few things. First, they will be presented by the prosecutor that is seeking the indictment and that will be in charge of the case. This means that the prosecutor has to present enough information and evidence to convince the grand jury that a crime took place and that the person that is being accused likely took part.
If there is enough evidence and the grand jury agrees that a crime was committed that needs to be sent to trial, the indictment is created, and the individual is often arrested pending trial if the charge is serious enough. Not all crimes are going to warrant an indictment. In most states, the crime must be punishable by at least one year in prison to require an indictment.
What Can You Do?
If you are indicted on a serious crime there are a few things you can do. You first need to hire an expert criminal defense attorney to help you build a case and prove your innocence. Sometimes they can get the indictment thrown out before the case ever makes it to trial. In other cases, you will have to go through a criminal trial to prove your innocence.
A criminal defense attorney will know how to best defend you and create a case that can prove that you are innocent and that the charges are baseless. If you are having trouble understanding your indictment, it is always best to get the help of a criminal defense attorney. For someone being charged with a serious crime, the proper defense is vital.
Categorised in: Criminal Defense