Montgomery County Indictment Process
Felony charges are usually charges that are more serious in nature. Misdemeanor charges are less serious in nature. Felony charges include those that one might commonly understand to be serious like murder, rape, armed robbery, burglary or theft of large amounts. Misdemeanor charges include less violence offenses, such as DUIs; possession of small amounts of controlled, dangerous substances; trespassing; disorderly conduct; shoplifting and things of that nature. Those are misdemeanor offenses.
Irrespective of the type of criminal charge someone might be facing, it is to their benefit to contact a Montgomery County criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. A stronger defense can be built the earlier an experienced legal professional gets started on a case.
How Indictments Work in Montgomery County
Montgomery County criminal cases are usually only indicted if the prosecutor has enough evidence to present to a grand jury. A grand jury is a group of citizens who are presented with evidence associated with a case and then determine if there is enough information to move forward on those charges based on the evidence presented to them. That is what an indictment is. Prosecutors use indictments on a regular basis when they are trying to move a case from the District Court of Maryland, which is where the case has its original jurisdiction, up to the Circuit Court where the case will actually be formally heard by a judge or a jury.
Circumstances That May Impact Indictment
People can be arrested and are likely usually arrested before they are indicted on criminal charges. Generally speaking, arrest takes place immediately at the scene of the incident in criminal cases. For example, somebody being arrested and charged with murder is usually going to be arrested at or near the scene, or after an investigation which might have briefly taken place. That amounts to an officer having probable cause to arrest that individual.
An indictment generally comes after that, when a Montgomery County police officer has had an opportunity to conduct a full investigation, perhaps gather witnesses or other evidence like fingerprints or ballistics, and use that information to present to the grand jury as justification for an indictment.
White Collar Crimes
There are sometimes indictments that take place before a person is actually arrested. Those situations often are white collar crime cases where a lengthy investigation is ongoing. Usually it is some kind of fraud associated with money, where they are gathering materials and information for a lengthy period of time before an arrest because there is no one single act or crime being investigated. Rather, there are a series of offenses they are putting together to charge you and in those situations, an indictment can often occur before somebody is placed under arrest.
Someone who thinks they are being investigated by local law enforcement officials should try and get in touch with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Montgomery County as soon as they can. There is a benefit to having a lawyer by your side even before you are facing official charges. Someone who has practiced in the area for years will be able to help you protect your constitutional rights and protect you from potentially damaging statements to your case.