What’s the Difference Between Getting Charged and Indicted?
Being charged with a crime means that a prosecutor believes there is sufficient evidence to convict you of a crime. Being indicted means that a prosecutor has brought their evidence before a grand jury, and the grand jury has found that the prosecutor has probable cause to take your case to trial.
Indictments are usually used in federal cases and state felonies. A prosecutor won’t convene a grand jury to indict someone for shoplifting. There is also no requirement to use a grand jury for state felonies.
Often, a prosecutor will use a grand jury to shield officers from facing possible criminal charges by the citizenry. Convening a grand jury can help protect the cops against a charge of wrongful arrest, for example.
This may be disturbing to know once you realize that grand juries almost always indict, in part because the only evidence they hear is the evidence the prosecutor presents to them. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, grand juries declined to indict in 11 out of 162,351 federal cases in 2010.
Often, when grand juries do decline to indict, it is because the defendant is a law enforcement officer facing charges in an officer shooting event.
Grand jury proceedings are also secret.
Grim realities all around if you’re a defendant in a criminal case.
Of course, whether you’re charged or indicted, either way, you’re in trouble. Even being charged with a crime can be a punishment on its own, even before you are convicted, one that can wreck your life in a myriad of ways.
If you’re going to protect your freedom, you’ll need help from an experienced Brooklyn criminal defense lawyer. There are many tools that we can use to keep you out of jail. In some cases, we may even be able to talk the prosecutor into dropping charges before the case proceeds too far. Charges may be dropped at any point in the process, all the way up to your date of the trial. If charges are dropped or dismissed without prejudice, the matter is closed.
Are you in trouble? Is someone you love in trouble? If so, don’t delay. Contact Ruskin Law to schedule a case review today. We’re available 24/7, and we’re ready to fight for you.