How can you be indicted and arrested for something you have never been charged with?

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How can you be indicted and arrested for something you have never been charged with?

I was arrested because I bought 1 box of cold pills over the limit. When I went to court for that, they arrested me again for use of drug paraphernalia. I have never been in trouble for drug paraphernalia. They said that the grand jury indicted me and that’s where the charge came from. How can they just make up a charge and put it on you?

Asked on February 4, 2011 under Criminal Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There're not just "making it up"--instead, a grand jury, based on the evidence presented to them, concluded that there was another offense which you may have committed and an arrest warrant was issued for that reason. One of the purposes of a grand jury is investigatory; and even when they are not doing a "full up" investigation (e.g. as in many political cases), during a grand jury, evidence can be presented to profer charges against someone. There is nothing in the law that says that all charges against a person must be decided on at the same time; it's not uncommon for additonal charges to be raised as more evidence comes to light.


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