Q:

What happens after a grand jury indictment?

A:

Quick Answer

Exactly what happens after a grand jury indictment can vary based on state law. However, in most cases, a grand jury indictment is an indication that criminal charges are soon filed against the accused. If a grand jury returns an indictment, it is referred to as a true bill.

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Full Answer

If a prosecutor uses a grand jury in a criminal case, there is no need for a preliminary hearing, as the grand jury has already determined there is enough evidence to obtain an indictment. This is often done, as it gives prosecutors the opportunity to present evidence behind closed doors and get a glimpse of how the evidence gets received.

However, a grand jury does not have to return an indictment for a prosecutor to decide to file criminal charges. The prosecutor can move forward with criminal charges even in cases where the grand jury returns no bill, or no indictment. A prosecutor also has the option to present additional evidence to the same grand jury, or to present the case to a new grand jury.

A grand jury also does not require a unanimous verdict in order to return an indictment. In most cases, a majority is all that is required. The grand jury is also not responsible for determining guilt, but instead focuses on whether or not there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

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