What’s the Difference Between an Indictment and a Charge?

What's the Difference Between an Indictment and a Charge?

The initial step in which a victim makes accusations against the defendant is called an indictment. In the initial determination, this does not immediately make someone guilty or become a defendant, but rather this is only the prosecutor’s opinion that they committed a crime.

In this review you will get the description about what does an indictment mean? Also find information regarding the difference between being indicted and charged which will make you understand more and not take the wrong steps.

In understanding the meaning of an indictment, it is very necessary to understand what a grand jury is. Next you can learn how prosecution of a criminal can work. It is very important to fulfil all of these processes and provisions so that you can submit charges that are approved and the legal process continues until it reaches a conclusion.

Definition of Grand Jury

The grand jury consists of at least 16 – 23 citizens who are neutral parties. They are people selected to carry out their function of conducting independent case reviews. Therefore, it is very important to be able to select the jury carefully and carefully.

The grand jury will meet privately for the purpose of conducting an investigation. From the results of the investigation, the final conclusion can then be drawn as to whether formal charges can and need to be filed against a suspect. Only after it is certain that criminal charges should be filed, will an indictment be issued.

Indictments are Filed Thoroughly

We cannot hope that charges can be filed very quickly without consideration and confirmation steps. Even though you may have experienced a large loss, you still have to go through the procedures that have been determined in detail and in a structured manner.

There are several conditions that must be met in order for an indictment to be issued, namely that at least 12 members of the jury must be convinced by the prosecutor, and they agree that charges can be formally filed. It is through this process that you will finally find the difference between being indicted and charged.

No Interference

You need to know that in general legal advisors will not be present during the examination process. Jury members only need to examine everything that the prosecutor has presented to them, so there is no need to conduct examinations outside the specified scope.

The opposite also applies, where the investigation carried out by the grand jury is carried out independently using their own methods and without any assistance or interference from other parties, including without direct supervision from the court.

It is important to emphasize that the jury must be legally separate from all matters related to government institutions, and be able to make a clearer status. After understanding the things above, we will then discuss in detail the difference between being indicted and charged.

Difference Between Indictment And Charges

The difference between being indicted and charged are steps that allow a criminal case to enter the realm of official court. The difference between the two is that the prosecutor provides the indictment, while the jury presents the charges.

The prosecutor needs to convince all members of the jury during the course of the grand jury’s investigation that a crime has occurred so that they are willing to agree that formal charges can be filed immediately. A trial can only be officially carried out if someone is finally officially charged with committing a crime.

According to the regulations, the defendant is still allowed to be present when the jury meeting takes place. Generally, the defendant is present in person, or there is a prosecutor who is also present, a member who is on the jury, someone who is intended to be a witness and is presented by the prosecutor before the jury, and a personnel who is officially appointed to carry out recording duties, carry out maintenance and maintain security.

On the other hand, when someone has been officially charged, he must appear directly in court and take part in the trial, accompanied by the prosecutor, attorney, jury, witnesses, judge, stenographer, and other parties who are invited and needed with the aim of making the trial run smoothly. fairly and balanced in deciding a case.

It is commonly known that an indictment is also called a “real bill”. This will be considered a formal allegation to allow an official investigation to proceed to the filing of charges. An indictment may or may not result in court charges. On the other hand, an indictment means that the jury members requested and decided to impose formal charges.

The Importance of the Jury’s Role

It is clear to see how the difference between being indicted and charged means having different responses or follow-up results. This is why the jury also has a very important role in deciding whether to continue the criminal legal process towards the official court.

It is very important to determine the best jury and of course all selections have also gone through strict and considered steps so that there are no problems during the legal process and can get fair results in accordance with common goals.

An Indictable Person

everyone is still very likely to be indicted by a grand jury even with very few exceptions. Only some, meaning not all states, make indictment mandatory to be able to file charges that someone has committed a crime. Charges are not applied to every perpetrator of a crime, and are specifically given to perpetrators of serious crimes.

This is a way to ensure that legal treatment can run as fairly as possible, with full consideration, accuracy, and not harm anyone, and be clear on the difference between being indicted and charged. When people feel they are not getting justice, they can also demand the right to justice. This will also show the world how the laws in a country are implemented, as well as shape its image in the eyes of the world.

The Fifth Amandement

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution which contains a statement regarding crimes that carry a penalty of life imprisonment or the death penalty requires that an indictment be filed before charges can be filed. On the other hand, the United States Supreme Court has interpreted the clause to mean that it only applies to federal level criminals. In this case states cannot follow the rules, but if they choose to do so, then that is also permissible.

The laws governing these charges apply to civilians in the United States only. Meanwhile, members of the armed forces will receive trials in military courts that do not require indictment and do not experience trial by a jury or their peers.

Federal Indictment

Most states do not require the filing of an indictment before filing charges against someone who has committed a crime. In this case, federal level crimes will be handled in a different way. However, the difference between being indicted and charged is still in the same level and also understandable.

The Assistant United States Attorney or AUSA will conduct a review of the merits of pursuing the case and ask federal investigators questions about whether charges should proceed and be included in the federal indictment.

The jury can step in in this case if the evidence collected is not satisfactory and additional, more in-depth investigations still do not provide significant assistance for AUSA to make a decision. Federal charges can be filed if they relate to a high-profile crime, while federal misdemeanours do not require filing charges in order to file charges at this level.

Knowing Someone Has Been Indicted

For those of you who still don’t really understand this kind of legal realm and still don’t understand how charges can be brought against you and what does it mean to be indicted? Then, this is an important thing to understand because the steps that will be explained below are the most important steps in continuing the case and determining its status.

The jury will be closed to the public in carrying out its duties. Each jury member may only disseminate or share information with fellow jury members and is asked not to share it with the general public. Even witnesses, attorneys, and all parties will be asked to stay out of the room and give the jury time to deliberate. The evaluation and negotiation process carried out by the jury is very private.

This trial process will be carried out in secret and behind closed doors, and can last up to a month or several months to a year. What often happens is that the defendant knows he or she has been charged and receives criminal charges only after the indictment has been issued. In some cases, people who are accused do not want to accept the charges because basically they don’t know about the difference between being indicted and charged.

When the defendant has been arrested after a warrant has been issued and charges have been filed in court, only then will they know that the indictment has been issued. You can find out information about fees or charges related to this legal process in the following ways, and it is also will shows the difference between being indicted and charged:

    • Find out and contact the appropriate court office. Ask directly whether the original bill has been issued.
    • Check with the relevant court office and ask questions regarding the jury meeting that will be held at the next opportunity.
    • Check with the relevant court office and ask for the date of the upcoming trial.
    • Submit a written request and request notification regarding the upcoming trial date. In this case, only the defendant can get the information.

Sealing the Indictment

All important matters will be kept confidential during the jury deliberation process. Once the actual indictment is out, it is likely that the document will be sealed and kept secret from the public, but maybe not.

Generally, the indictment will be sealed, and the sealed condition will be maintained until the specified time limit. Several reasons why an indictment needs to be sealed include:

    • Prevent the defendant from knowing this information and deciding to run away from the case.
    • Eliminate the possibility that colleagues or parties who have the same interests as the defendant will know this information and leak it to the defendant.
    • Prevent the possibility that people who were involved or conspirators also ran away so that they would not be involved in court and receive punishment.

When the indictment is sealed, all information regarding its whereabouts and current condition will not be shared, especially with lawyers, defendants, and the general public. This condition will also provide a little insight about the difference between being indicted and charged .

The general public will also be kept secret from this information considering that they are also likely to leak the information to the defendant accidentally even though they did not know each other or were not even involved in anything. However, vigilance is very necessary.

Indictment Means Prison?

Many people then started to get curious and ask questions does indictment mean jail time? People will not necessarily go to prison even if they have been charged. Filing criminal charges is a step that the prosecutor may need to continue if he wants to subject the defendant to further legal action.

If that happens, a court hearing will immediately be scheduled so that you can start and immediately continue the trial process regarding the case before a jury and judge. A person will remain innocent even if there is an indictment against him until the court decides that he is guilty.

The state will be careful in determining a person’s defendant status by establishing a fair legal process. The court will of course apply the legal process that has been carried out and weigh everything until it reaches a final decision.

Everything needs to be done well and with strong evidence, even though the process will be very difficult and will likely take longer, even several months, and the difference between being indicted and charged is not applicable in this matter.

Charges Dropped

It is still possible to cancel the indictment, but this is rarely done by prosecutors, especially after the indictment from the jury has been issued and the results are known. As far as it goes, most parties to an indictment are required to appear in court and face the criminal charges against them before deciding to have the charges dismissed.

The most common occurrence by far is jury dismissals, which is very likely to happen even at unforeseen times during the process and before an indictment is issued. When a grand jury dismissal occurs, rather than an expected indictment, this results in a “no bill” situation. Dismissal or dismissal of the jury occurs as a result of the following things, including:

    • Evidence that does not fully support
    • Violations committed by the police and prosecutors
    • A case that is considered not strong enough for the jury to believe that the ongoing case can be won
    • The defendant’s willingness and cooperation in collaborating with other criminal cases

In general, all the rules apply, and the difference between being indicted and charged also not too obtrusive.

More Information about the Indictment

By knowing more about the charges, this will help you understand the operating system or legal techniques that operate in this country. You can find much more information related to the legal realm, including to differentiate between the condition that you are being accused or being prosecuted. This will really help you not to be fooled in the name of the law and instead take advantage of the law.

For anyone who feels and knows very well that they will be charged, or have even been charged, it is highly recommended to see a credible, professional and trustworthy lawyer to help you get out of trouble, especially if the accusation is not true.

If you have difficulty paying for the services of a lawyer, even just to get advice, then you will get a lawyer who will be provided by the court as a type of service for the community. He also will give you a clear understanding about the difference between being indicted and charged.

All of this can only be done by people who have clearly been charged with a crime. You can easily find information about lawyer services that you can use at relatively cheap costs, or if you are lucky you can find free services to find out important information about the differences between.

Be a citizen who obeys and understands the law, and keep learning about the difference between being indicted and charged so that you don’t experience bad luck in court. In some cases, determining the status of charges or accusations is very confusing because according to several lay perspectives the two seem to be the same, therefore it is very important for you to understand them correctly.

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