What happens in an indictment?

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What happens in an indictment?

Asked on December 1, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

An indictment is just a charging instrument returned by a grand jury.  Essentially, it tells the defendant and the public, that at the time the case was presented to grand jury, there was enough evidence to go forward with the charge.  The purpose of the indictment is to put a defendant on notice of what he/she is accused of doing and the nature of the allegations against them.  The indictment is the begining of a felony case in the criminal justice system.  At or before your first court setting, you should receive a copy of the indictment and will be asked how you would like to plea to the allegations.  As a matter of practice, many judges will enter a plea of non-guilty on behalf of defendants until they have had a chance to find an attorney. 


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