What happens when you’re indicted by a federal grand jury? No matter what the level of severity – infraction, misdemeanor, or felony – a criminal charge can cause great stress, fear, and confusion, and the outcome of the case will affect your life in numerous ways, perhaps threatening your employment status, your legal rights, and your relationships with family and friends. To navigate the criminal justice system successfully, you will need a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Happens When You’re Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury
Grand juries have existed for centuries, and they were firmly established within the American justice system by the Founding Fathers, who wrote in the Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment on indictment of a grand jury.” However, many people outside of the justice system don’t understand federal grand jury proceedings. To get a better grasp of the differences between trial juries and grand juries, let’s review some of the unique features of grand jury proceedings:
- In a grand jury, a judge is not present.
- The grand jury is not required to inform the suspect of the investigation. However, in some cases the accused is told of the investigation and/or called to testify.
- Evidence in a grand jury is presented by the prosecuting attorney. The prosecutor shapes the case, as the grand jury has no investigative staff of its own. However, the grand jury may call additional witnesses.
- Although witnesses in a grand jury have the right to an attorney, the attorney must stay outside the room. The witness is allowed to leave the room, however, to speak to their attorney.
- The accused may testify, but they may only answer questions presented by the prosecutor. The defense attorney cannot question any witnesses, including the accused. In addition, the jurors may submit questions for the prosecutor to ask witnesses.
- The grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence. Instead, the jury determines whether or not there is probable cause to believe the accused committed the crime. The jury can decide whether to bring charges via a written indictment.
When charges are filed against you in a federal criminal case, don’t underestimate the power of the federal government. With its money, resources, strength, and experience, the federal government will work hard to achieve its ideal outcome. To convey your side of the case and fight for your rights, you will need a talented criminal defense attorney.
If you are indicted by a federal grand jury, you will be arrested (if you have not been already) and formally charged with the crime. During the pretrial hearing, you will typically be allowed to enter a plea. If you plead guilty to the charges, a sentencing hearing will occur. If you plead not guilty, a trial date will be set. Depending on the nature of the crime, the likelihood of your fleeing, and the laws of your jurisdiction, you may or may not be imprisoned until the trial date.
Whether or not charges have been filed against you at this time, if you’re wondering what happens when you’re indicted by a federal grand jury, contact Replogle, Tyrrell, & Robertson, LLC. Our full-service law firm has offices in Marshfield and Springfield, Missouri, and we are committed to providing our clients with legal expertise and exceptional service. Plus, criminal defense attorney John Tyrrell has over six years of experience in the Greene County and Webster County Prosecutors Office, prosecuting many of the crimes that can be charged in Missouri. To get started, please give us a call at 417-893-5121 (Springfield) or 417-859-3979 (Marshfield). We look forward to hearing from you.