Meaning of 'Indictment'

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Meaning of “Indictment”

You hear the word “indictment” in the news and on shows about attorneys, but what does it mean, especially for a person who has been indicted?

Definition of “Indictment”

An indictment is when a person is formally accused and charged with committing a crime.

While there are other ways a person can be accused of committing a crime, an indictment is used in the United States to formally accuse a person, especially in cases of federal crimes. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that a person can only be charged with a capital, or other infamous crime, by being indicted by a grand jury. Because this amendment does not extend to state courts, it’s isn’t used as often in the state court system.

What Happens When You’re Indicted?

Usually when a grand jury hands down an indictment the defendant is then arraigned. When a defendant is arraigned, the first step in a trial, an initial plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest, is made in court. Unlike the actual trial, it’s used to enter the plea, decide if the defendant needs or already has representation, and if necessary sets their bail. After a defendant is arraigned they go to trial with either a jury or a judge.

If you have been indicted for a crime, you need the expert assistance of a criminal defense attorney such as Sevens Legal, APC, to assist in the court process and all legal proceedings related to your case. Contact Sevens Legal, APC, today for a free consultation.

Sevens Legal, APC
Criminal Defense Attorneys
3555 4th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: (619) 297-2800

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