An indictment is a criminal charge which is issued by a grand jury. There are two ways that criminal cases can begin in Virginia. The first is when a warrant is sought from a magistrate immediately following the arrest of an individual. In addition, there is the ability in Virginia to impanel a grand jury and to ask it to issue an indictment directly to the circuit court.
In more serious cases, a prosecutor will often choose to secure an indictment from a grand jury in Stafford County and skip the preliminary hearing process, which goes along with warrants, to deprive the defense of an opportunity to have a first look at their evidence and to gain a tactical advantage for them at trial. It is important in these scenarios to have a seasoned Stafford County defense attorney on your side to meet these challenges head-on.
Any time a grand jury is impaneled and indictments are sought, the process is going to include an officer going in front of that grand jury, presenting facts, and asking the grand jury to issue an indictment, which has been prepared by the prosecutor. Once that indictment is issued, it is served upon the defendant and the defendant is arrested in that process. An indictment will always precede an arrest when the charge originates with the grand jury. An attorney with experience dealing with indictments and grand juries can greatly improve someone’s chances at acquittal.
Generally, indictments are going to be brought in cases that are very serious. When the government is more intent on securing a conviction and treating the case more seriously, one of the tactics employed is securing indictments rather than getting arrest warrants, which will take the defendant through a preliminary hearing process and where they will have an initial opportunity to see some of the prosecution’s evidence and cross-examine some of the witnesses. It is imperative to contact a Stafford County lawyer before this to ensure due process of law is followed.
If a person finds out that they are facing robbery charges or even just being investigated, the first and most important thing that a person can do is stop talking. That means do not talk to the police, to friends, to family, or to anyone about the facts of their case. The reason for this is that any statement the person makes, whether it is to the police or anyone else except for an attorney, can be used against the person at a trial.
The second most important step that a person can take is to immediately contact a local defense attorney. These kinds of cases are very serious and complex. Involving an attorney early on in the process will give the person a tactical advantage both in avoiding the kinds of common mistakes that many people make, as well as in beginning to take proactive steps to build the most effective and successful defense possible under the circumstances.
The kinds of evidence that lawyers look for are witness evidence and any evidence that is going to assist in the case which might tend prove the person innocent. Lawyers are also looking at any documentary evidence, including video or other forensics. All of these things can contribute to putting the defendant’s best foot forward in refuting the Commonwealth’s evidence.
If someone is indicted in Stafford County, it does not necessarily mean that he or she is going to be arrested immediately. Sometimes indictments are placed under seal. Sometimes indictments are not immediately served. It is possible that an indictment can be issued by a grand jury, but for various reasons might not be served for many months after the time that it was issued.
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