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What Is the Grand Jury Indictment Process in Illinois?

 Posted on February 07,2024 in Criminal Defense

Will County criminal defense lawyerThe way the criminal justice process plays out often depends on the classification of the crime you are being charged with. For example, an indictment or information is required in Illinois to prosecute felony offenses. By information does require a preliminary hearing. Misdemeanors crimes, however, may be filed through alternative means, such as a criminal complaint filed by a prosecuting attorney or law enforcement officer, without requiring a grand jury indictment. If you are being accused of a crime, make sure you have an Illinois defense lawyer advocating for you.

What Is an Indictment?

An indictment is a formal written accusation issued by a grand jury alleging that a specific individual has committed a crime. It is the initial step in the legal process for prosecuting severe criminal offenses, specifically felonies. An indictment outlines the charges against the defendant, detailing the nature of the alleged criminal acts and providing the basis for the prosecution's case.

Obtaining an indictment usually begins with law enforcement officials investigating suspected criminal activity. If the evidence gathered during the investigation suggests that a crime has been committed and a particular individual is responsible, the prosecuting attorney presents this evidence to a grand jury. A grand jury is a group of citizens convened to review evidence and determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the accused individual should stand trial.

During the grand jury proceedings, the prosecuting attorney presents evidence, including witness testimony, documents, and other relevant information, to support the allegations against the accused person. The grand jurors evaluate this evidence and decide whether it is sufficient to warrant formal charges. Unlike in a jury trial, where the standard is "beyond a reasonable doubt," the grand jury only needs to find probable cause to issue an indictment.

If the grand jury determines probable cause, they will issue an indictment formally charging the defendant with one or more crimes. The indictment specifies the charges against the defendant and describes the essential elements of each offense. It serves as the legal basis for the defendant's arrest and arraignment, where they will be informed of the charges against them and allowed to enter a plea.

Contact a Will County, IL Criminal Defense Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you are being investigated for a crime, it is crucial to have a Naperville, IL criminal defense lawyer representing you and making sure your constitutional rights are protected. Call Law Office of Patricia Magaña, LLC at 630-448-2001 to schedule a free and confidential consultation. 

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