If you have been indicted by a grand jury in the state of Georgia, you no doubt have many questions as to what you can expect, what an indictment entails and what you can do to challenge the accusations being presented against you.
What is a Grand Jury Indictment?
An indictment is a legal document presented to someone who is suspected of having committed a serious crime. The document itself will contain the basic outline of the charges against you and is filed only after an investigation by a grand jury. In the state of Georgia, these indictments can be issued at a state or federal level.
It’s important to note that an indictment simply shows that a grand jury found that there was probable cause, meaning that a reasonable person could believe that the accused may be involved with the aforementioned crime, not that the defendant is guilty.
Who Sits on a Grand Jury?
One of the constitutional rights written into the United States Constitution, a grand jury consists of anywhere from 16-23 citizens who are impaneled specifically for this hearing. These citizens do not know the defendant and can thus consider evidence offered by the prosecution in regard to the crime at hand. This evidence will illustrate the charges being leveled, any physical evidence tying the defendant to the crime and any witnesses who can offer testimony.
Once the grand jury has considered the evidence, they will vote in secret as to whether probable cause exists to indict the defendant. If a majority of 12 or more vote in the affirmative, the indictment moves forward. Otherwise, the matter is considered closed.
This grand jury process is enshrined in the Constitution, stemming from the fourth amendment’s mandate that citizens have the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” That said, it does not specifically give defendants or their attorney the right to take part. Your attorney can still play a role, however, filing motions to dismiss and presenting evidence.
Georgia law dictates that the court has 2 years to file an accusation in the case of a misdemeanor, or 4 years for a felony.
What Information Will the Indictment Include?
Written in plain, concise language, the indictment will include a statement of the basic facts surrounding the charge or charges the defendant is facing. While it doesn’t need to have a formal introduction or conclusion, it can contain references to any allegations made in a separate count or admissions that the means by which the defendant committed the crime or unclear or unknown. But at its core, the indictment will contain citations of the specific provision, regulation or rule that the defendant allegedly violated.
What Separates a Criminal Charge and a Criminal Indictment?
The essential difference between a charge and an indictment comes down to who filed it. In the case of a criminal charge, the prosecution files charges after an arrest is made by law enforcement. In the case of an indictment, the grand jury files the indictment.
After the indictment is filed and the court case moved to a court of law, defendants can either be convicted or acquitted. A conviction means the defendant has been tried in a criminal case and found guilty. An acquittal means that the judge or jury found the defendant not guilty. The Busbee Law Group is known for having cases acquitted and reduced.
The Busbee Law Group’s Difference
Our attorneys are renowned for their ability to challenge indictments, heading off charges before they are filed. Remember, an indictment just says that probable cause exists. Our attorneys employ a litany of successful methods in challenging indictments, from filing motions, questioning accusations, and presenting evidence to erode the notion of probable cause.
Our attorneys fend off the admissibility of an indictment. But if not, we beat the charges at a jury trial using our tried-and-true dedication to superior preparation. Our initial investigation will work harder than the prosecution, unearthing evidence and discovering every crack in the case against you to gain back your freedom and dignity.
We prepare more, because we know that the side who enters a courtroom better prepared has a better chance of winning. An indictment does not mean your fight is over – it means it’s just the beginning. Put Busbee Law Group in your corner by scheduling a free, confidential case evaluation today.
The realization that there are many more options than you considered will help you sleep better tonight.