Indictment

The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies. See also information.

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Answers.com

A written statement charging a party with the commission of a crime or other offense, drawn up by a prosecuting attorney and found and presented by a grand jury.

Duhaime Legal Dictionary

An indictment will state the relevant alleged facts and set out the nature of the alleged crime.

In the USA, the indictment is the formal accusation returned by a Grand Jury, that charges a person with a felony.

It is on the basis of an indictment that an accused person must stand trial; being the accusation of the commission of a crime. It is not evidence of a crime; merely an allegation thereof, the initiating document of a criminal trial.

Encyclopedia Britannica

In the United States (and, until recently, in England), a formal written accusation of crime affirmed by a grand jury and presented by it to the court for trial of the accused. The grand jury system was eliminated in England in the mid-20th century, and current law there provides for a bill of indictment to be presented to the court when the person accused has been committed to trial by a magistrate and in certain other cases.

An indictment must establish the jurisdiction of the court to try the case, provide adequate notice to the defendant of the charges against him, enable the court to pronounce judgment upon conviction, and prevent a second prosecution for the same offense. The indictment at common law was an instrument of remarkable prolixity, and formal requirements concerning caption, commencement, and conclusion of the document and the modes of alleging elements of the offense were strictly enforced; amendments were not permitted. Modern indictments in England have been simplified as to form and language and consist of three parts: commencement, statement of the offense, and particulars of the offense. Each charge must be in a separate count, but any number of felonies and misdemeanours may be joined in the same indictment. A defective indictment may be amended unless “the required amendments cannot be made without injustice.”

Law.com Dictionary

A charge of a felony (serious crime) voted by a Grand Jury based upon a proposed charge, witnesses' testimony and other evidence presented by the public prosecutor (District Attorney). To bring an indictment the Grand Jury will not find guilt, but only the probability that a crime was committed, that the accused person did it and that he/she should be tried. District Attorneys often only introduce key facts sufficient to show the probability, both to save time and to avoid revealing all the evidence. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment of a Grand Jury…." However, while grand juries are common in charging federal crimes, many states use grand juries sparingly and use the criminal complaint, followed by a "preliminary hearing" held by a lower court judge or other magistrate, who will determine whether or not the prosecutor has presented sufficient evidence that the accused has committed a felony. If the judge finds there is enough evidence, he/she will order the case sent to the appropriate court for trial.

Lawyers.com

A formal written statement framed by a prosecuting authority and found by a grand jury that charges a person or persons with an offense.

Lect Law Library

A formal accusation of a felony, issued by a grand jury after considering evidence presented by a prosecutor. The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.

Legal-Dictionary.org

Formal accusation of an offense issued by grand jury based on evidence presented by a prosecutor.

Merriam Webster

1 a : the action or the legal process of indicting b : the state of being indicted

2 : a formal written statement framed by a prosecuting authority and found by a jury (as a grand jury) charging a person with an offense

3 : an expression of strong disapproval

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

A written accusation charging that an individual named therein has committed an act or omitted to do something that is punishable by law.

An indictment is found and presented by a Grand Jury legally convened and sworn. It originates with a prosecutor and is issued by the grand jury against an individual who is charged with a crime. Before such individual may be convicted, the charge must be proved at trial Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.

The purpose of an indictment is to inform an accused individual of the charge against him or her so that the person will be able to prepare a defense.

Wikipedia

In the common law legal system, an indictment is a formal accusation that a person has committed a criminal offence. In those jurisdictions which retain the concept of a felony, the serious criminal offence would be a felony; those jurisdictions which have abolished the concept of a felony often substitute the concept of an indictable offence, i.e. an offence which requires an indictment.

Traditionally an indictment was handed up by a grand jury, which returned a "true bill" if it found cause to make the charge, or "no bill" if it did not find cause. Most common law jurisdictions (except for much of the United States) have abolished grand juries.