An indictment is simply the formal accusation by a Grand Jury of a felony. Prior the issuance of an indictment, a felony defendant is accused only by the Criminal Court complaint. The indictment is not evidence of guilt and cannot be entered as evidence against you at trial.

If the grand jury does not vote an indictment, you will be released from jail. The failure of the Grand Jury to vote an indictment is called a “no true bill.” If the grand jury votes an indictment, your case will be transferred from Criminal Court to Supreme Court for another arraignment within a few weeks. This arraignment is similar to the arraignment in Criminal Court. You will be formally charged with the crime(s) voted by the grand jury and contained in the indictment, and you will plead either guilty or not guilty. The conditions of your bail may also be reviewed and plea bargaining may take place. If you do not plead guilty, your case will be adjourned to a calendar part.

Rarely the Grand Jury will hear evidence prior to any arrest. If a “silent indictment” is issued against you, you will be unable to present evidence or to testify and will only be aware of it when an arrest warrant is issued against you.


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