DC Federal Criminal Indictments

If you have been arrested or investigated for a crime in Washington, DC the following is what you need to know about indictments and what will take place. For assistance with your case, call and schedule a consultation with a DC federal criminal defense attorney today.

When An Indictment Takes Place

In DC Superior Court, defendants have to be indicted if the government intends to pursue felony charges against them all the way to trial. What will happen in most cases is an individual will be arrested and charged through a complaint filed by the government with a certain offense. The government will then have to go to a grand jury and secure an indictment where the grand jury rules on charges submitted by the government. Usually, if the government is seeking an indictment by a grand jury they’ll get one, because it’s a process whereby the defense does not participate and the government controls which witnesses will be present and what the questions will be in a secret proceeding before the grand jury.

Are You Typically Indicted Before or After An Arrest?

Whether or not an individual will be indicted before or after an arrest depends upon the type of charge. In certain types of cases, like conspiracy or fraud cases, oftentimes the government may seek an indictment before arresting one person or multiple people because they want to get the charges filed, indicted and then go out and arrest everyone at the same time to stop the possibility of multiple people getting away so to speak. In other words, criminal activity that involves more than one person will most often stop if one of those people is arrested and the other people find out about it.

Indictments “Under Seal”

There are many federal cases where the government will seek an indictment and file that indictment under seal, meaning it’s not a public document. That way they can then coordinate their efforts to arrest all of the people involved that they could possibly get before there’s a chance of the investigation and charges becoming public and the individuals try to hide evidence or stop their illegal activity.

In most circumstances where an indictment happens before an arrest it would be a federal case but occasionally that could happen in Superior Court. It’s fairly rare in DC Superior Court to see the government obtain an indictment prior to an arrest being made.

Importance of An Attorney

No matter what step you are at in the criminal process, it is important to have experienced legal representation by your side in order to ensure that your rights are protected and you know what to expect.