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What is an Indictment?

An indictment is a federal felony charge submitted by a grand jury against an individual. This will determine if there is enough evidence to start a federal trial, if the grand jury determines that a felony charge should be issued.

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An indictment is a formal legal accusation or charge brought against an individual, typically in the context of criminal law. It serves as a fundamental step in the criminal justice process, where a grand jury or a prosecutor presents evidence and allegations against a person believed to have committed a crime. The purpose of an indictment is to initiate a criminal case against the accused, outlining the specific charges and providing a basis for legal proceedings.


To obtain an indictment, a prosecutor or grand jury must present sufficient evidence to establish "probable cause." This means that there is a reasonable belief that the accused committed the alleged crime. The indictment document itself outlines the charges in detail, including the specific criminal statutes that the accused is alleged to have violated. It also provides a brief description of the facts and evidence supporting the charges.


Once an indictment is issued, the accused individual is formally notified of the charges against them, and the criminal case moves forward. The accused will have the opportunity to enter a plea, typically either guilty or not guilty, and proceed to trial or negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. Indictments are a crucial part of due process in the criminal justice system, ensuring that individuals are aware of the charges against them and have the opportunity to defend themselves in court.


Indictment Summary

An indictment is a formal legal document that accuses an individual of committing a crime, based on evidence presented to a grand jury or by a prosecutor. It serves as the starting point for a criminal case, outlining the specific charges and providing the accused with notice of the allegations against them. Indictments are essential for upholding due process and ensuring that individuals have the opportunity to defend themselves in a court of law.

About the Author

Peter Sandru

Peter Sandru is an Instructor & Co-Founder of NDIL with over 15 years as a Professional Investigator. Peter has spent more than a decade conducting investigations throughout the world, primarily for corporations, law firms, and government agencies. Peter has assisted in the creation of many Toronto Private Investigator training programs in various capacities.

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