How the Bill of Indictment Affects an Individual


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The Bill of Indictment is a formal document that accuses a specific person of a criminal act. This is presented to the grand jury and signed by a court official, and this affects the accused through possible severe punishment in a federal or state prison or with the death penalty for his or her crimes when convicted.

When a written document such as a bill of indictment has been presented, the accused has been suspected of performing a misdemeanor or felony action. The paperwork is given to the grand jury when there is sufficient evidence for a trial by jury for the case. It is then endorsed by the grand jury when the evidence and proof that may lead to a conviction is understood. The event that a trail is necessary is given based on the document and other evidence. Then, a trial may commence shortly afterwards. When the bill of indictment is used, the penalties may include at least one year of prison, the death penalty or further punishments.

When a person is facing such charges through a grand jury with the possibility of a conviction, he or she may lose all hope. However, each United States citizen is presented with the ability to a fair trial. He or she may hire a lawyer to present evidence, look over witnesses, interview persons and gather as much proof that is his or her case is strong enough to demonstrate innocence. The sooner these processes start, the greater chance enough evidence may be found that is usable and admissible. However, an experienced lawyer is necessary when criminal charges could lead to severe consequences for a conviction.

What Is the Bill of Indictment?

For this documentís validity, it must be a written statement of essential and relevant facts of the charges, signed by a lawyer that works for the government and have plain, definite and succinct details. There is no need for formal introductions or any type of conclusion. There may be additional descriptions of other charges that are related as well as an explanation that there is no known means of which the alleged committed the violation. The document may state the suspect committed the act in multiple ways. The regulation, statute, rule or provision of relevant laws that were broken or violated must be listed.

Sometimes the identity of defendant that perpetrated the crimes is not known, but the indictment must describe the relevant and known details such as DNA profile and witnessed characteristics. This may include height, weight, age and ethnicity. If citation error of an indictment occurred, this may not be uses as a basis to reverse a conviction, to dismiss the indictment or similar actions unless the defendant was misled in some manner which caused prejudice. If there is more information than necessary, this may be struck from the indictment through a motion by the defending party. Some amending of information is possible before a verdict or finding is completed.

The Effects of the Bill

When the person suspected of criminal activity is found, all the details are already with the grand jury, and this may make alterations and amending the bill difficult. If there are different charges or violations involved, this could lead to an entirely different bill, and the time for these matters may be extended. Additionally, a bill of particulars may be asked for within a two week period after an arraignment occurs or longer depending on the court. This is similar to a bill of indictment with details provided in greater description and more information as requested by the defendant in a criminal or civil case.

However, even if the court finds the defendant not guilty of the crimes, he or she may be severely impacted by the event through emotional or psychological turmoil. He or she may progress to therapy to recover from the experience. While the individual is not required to incriminate himself or herself, he or she may need to testify about certain events and actions completed. This is often used for clarifying details and who was at the scene. It is best to have a criminal defense lawyer available throughout the event.

Criminal Defense for the Grand Jury

When facing possible severe consequences up to and including the death penalty, the defendant should hire an experienced lawyer in these matters. He or she may protect his or her clientís rights and ensure that the case is understood along with any motions or action necessary.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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