A grand jury will indict a person for a federal felony if the crime was committed in New York and was tried in federal court. An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal wrongdoing; it represents the second step in the process of federal criminal justice and comes after the grand jury has made its initial decision.
Discuss your situation with a criminal defense attorney in Syracuse.
The Procedure of an Indictment
The government has enough evidence to indict you, so they will try to prove it in court. Though being indicted does not mean you are guilty, it does mean you must go through the criminal justice system to clear your name.
In New York, the most common charges against suspects are:
- Misdemeanors committed by highly paid professionals
- Crimes related to drugs
- Problematic levels of violent crime
- Institutionalized bribery in the public sector
- A prosecutor initiates the process by submitting an “accusation” or “information” to the grand jury. A panel of 16-23 average citizens, known as a grand jury, will then deliberate on whether or not to indict after reviewing the evidence presented. They will issue a bill of indictment if they decide there is sufficient evidence to do so.
A Look Ahead
When an indictment has been signed by the foreperson of the grand jury and delivered to a federal judge or federal magistrate, it is referred to as having “true” status. If you aren’t already in police custody, a judge or magistrate will issue an arrest warrant for you.
In an indictment, the details of the crime, the defendant, the time and place where the crime was committed, and so on are typically laid out in a few short paragraphs. The maximum sentence for the offense will be included as well.
You will be required to make your initial court appearance after the indictment, during which the charges against you will be read and you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. We will proceed with your sentence right away if you plead guilty. Should you enter a not-guilty plea, your case will proceed to trial.
After an indictment, you still have rights and choices. If you successfully defend yourself against the charges, the indictment against you might be thrown out due to a flaw in either the procedure or the evidence.