What Does It Mean To Be Indicted?
Indictment is when formal charges are brought against someone. The grand jury, which consists of more than 12 people, only has to determine if there is probable cause that a crime occurred and that there is probable cause to charge you with it; it’s not that you’re guilty, just that there is enough there to charge you; if so, you’ll be indicted for the crime. It doesn’t mean you’re convicted, it just means they didn’t just take you off the street and charge you without any facts. Indictment means that there are enough facts tying you to the crime for the court system to take over.
How Does the Bail Process Work and How is Bail Set?
Bail is very jurisdiction-specific; how they treat it varies from state to state, although everyone is generally entitled to bail to let them get out while their case is pending. However, in some jurisdictions, like New Mexico, the court will actually hold the bonds themselves, so you can have a bond posted at the court, in which they might require you to put up 10 percent of your bond, which will be refunded to you when the case is over or used to pay fines, if they are incurred, or the court can give you a secured bond where you have to go to a bondsman, who will want 10 percent of the bond as a fee.
In reality, bondsmen work a lot of deals; they may want the 10 percent, or they may want some other type of security to give your bond. The other bond that is the honorer’s bond, which is a cash-only bond. Even bondsmen don’t like those because a bondsman usually doesn’t have the cash to put up, he just has lines of credit, so if the court gives you a cash bond, we have to work hard to get that released into a secured bond. There are circumstances in which there is no bond, usually for probation violations, since you’re not entitled to a bond for a probation violation.
Often, the bail work is done before people speak to an attorney, but that’s probably when they should contact an attorney right away; the attorney can usually get hearings done quickly to reduce the bonds.
Are Police Officers Legally Allowed to Lie? Can You Lie to the Police?
Police have a lot of discretion in investigations and they are allowed to lie to you to get you to talk. They may say someone already flipped on you, and encourage you to talk before you get into more trouble. In reality, I don’t see that often but they can. Once in a while, I see situations in which police will claim an accomplice talked to encourage them to talk, but most of the time, that’s the extent of the lies police tell.
I rarely encounter situations in which they make up facts, like telling the defendant they saw them at the scene of the crime or that they found the gun; they are allowed to push it, though; it’s just my experience that they don’t push it too far.
Now, you can lie to the police; generally, in state cases, you won’t get in trouble for that, apart from them bringing up that you lied to them. However, if you lie to federal officers, that can bring new charges, and a separate crime. However, in state cases, they usually don’t charge for lying to police.
How Often Do I have to Attend Court After Posting Bail?
Once you get out of jail, the case generally starts and that depends on each judge. I always make the analogy that the judge is like the captain of a ship; they run their court the way they want, within broad parameters. Some judges are more hands-on than others, but generally, you’ll be in court at least once every 60 days for status conferences if a judge wants to know what’s going on in the case.
Some judges will give scheduling orders where they want discovery to be completed by certain dates, and that’s one of the benefits to having an attorney; they will guide you through the process and try to waive your presence at certain hearings at the early stages. However, most cases are probably resolved between six months to a year and you’ll probably end up making two to three court appearances.
How Long Do Criminal Cases Typically Take?
Most cases are probably resolved within six to eighteen months, although some of the more complicated ones can go up to 24 months or longer, although they’re rare.
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