Being charged with a serious crime can leave the defendant expecting to be indicted. Generally, there is a two part system to the indictment process and we at Ajua Bail Bonds would like to take the opportunity to explain it today.
True Bill Indictment
Any criminal charges that are being brought against the defendant are officially advised on during the first part of the process and they are given the opportunity to request a court appointed lawyer. In order to decide if it should return the indictment “True Bill”, a grand jury meets to listen to the evidence concerning the charges at the same time the defendant is being advised of the situation. An individual can expect to find out whether or not they can remain out on bail if they are already out as the bail aspect is also included in this process.
Grand Jury Indictment
From the jurisdiction where the charges are being brought is generally where a grand jury is composed of the local citizens. To hear the evidence supporting a charge, a room separate from the court room is frequently where the grand jury meets. The grand jury will return a True Bill if they determine probable cause exists. Should the grand jury believe that probable cause is lacking, they will return an indictment “No Bill”, which the charge will not move forward.
Probable Cause Legal Definition & Standard
To determine if it is more likely than not that the crime took place, Probable Cause is an evidentiary standard used. In the event that Probable Cause is found, it does not imply that a jury has found the defendant guilty; it simply means there is enough Probable Cause to warrant a trial.
Each state has special indictments, generally speaking. Straight indictments, also referred to as a direct indictment, and sealed indictments are the 2 most common variations. A preliminary trial to determine if probable cause exists to send a charge to a grand jury is done in most states where there is a felony charge. A straight indictment is issued if the prosecution decides to bypass this step. A straight indictment is typically elected by the prosecution if they feel they need to quickly bring charges against a defendant. If probable cause is not found in a lower court preliminary hearing, the prosecution may straight indict a defendant.
A sealed indictment is when the charge is brought directly to a grand jury as it bypasses a preliminary hearing. A sealed indictment is frequently utilized by the prosecution in drug manufacturing and distribution cases for example. This process is not open to the public and all the witnesses are kept confidential until just before the trial; this allows the identities of informants to be protected as they are called to witness at trial.
Ramifications for Bail
Should the defendant already be out on bail when the person is indicted, unless terms were violated, then the court will likely let it be continued so they do not have to pay bail again and can stay out of jail until their trial. The court will determine if the defendant is eligible for bail if they are subjected to a straight or sealed indictment. The judge assesses the charges brought against the defendant to see if a presumption against bail exists, if not, the judge also considers the defendants past criminal history. If the judge believes the defendant will attend all scheduled court dates and is not a threat to themselves or others, bail is typically granted.
If the defendant cannot afford the whole amount or not at all, hiring a bondsman is an alternative. The bondsman provides the surety to court needed and the defendant pays the bondman, which is typically 10% of the bail amount. This a non-refundable fee, which is how the bondsman gets paid and stays in business. The bondsman is then responsible to ensure the defendant is in court and if not, they will utilize resources to get them there.