Being indicted is a serious matter with severe consequences that can have life-altering implications. An indictment is a formal accusation that lets an individual know they are being charged with a crime. It is essentially the mechanism in serious criminal matters that transitions a case from preliminary investigation to charges and trial.

A grand jury, which conducts its proceedings in private, reviews evidence presented by the prosecution. They must determine whether there is probable cause to bring someone up on charges and require them to answer for their alleged conduct before a court of law. An indictment often occurs after an arrest, but not always – it can take place before an arrest has been carried out and then lead to an arrest. 

Understanding More About the Indictment Process in Ohio

Understanding More About the Indictment Process in Ohio

Understanding the indictment process in Ohio is essential if you find yourself facing serious criminal allegations. 

Here’s how this procedure typically unfolds:

  • A grand jury, composed of 15 citizens from Ohio, plays a key role in the indictment process. These individuals are selected to review and deliberate on cases – in Ohio, usually ones that will lead to felony charges. Indictments are not required for misdemeanors.
  • The grand jury convenes privately and hears presentations by the prosecutor. These usually include evidence like documents or physical items related to the alleged crime. During these proceedings, witnesses may also be called and questioned under oath.

There are three potential outcomes a grand jury can return with: 

No Bill or Ignore

If the grand jury determines that there is not enough evidence to establish probable cause for a criminal charge, they may return with a “No Bill” or what is sometimes known as an “Ignore.” This effectively means that the case will not be pursued because of insufficient evidence. The defendant would be released from these particular charges unless new evidence surfaces.

Indict as Charged

When the grand jury decides that sufficient probable cause exists to substantiate the charges as presented by the prosecutor, they return a decision to indict as charged. This formal indictment then initiates felony proceedings against the defendant.

Amending the Charges to Misdemeanors

At times, the evidence may not support felony charges but might suggest that lesser misdemeanor offenses may be appropriate. This means the defendant will still face criminal prosecution.

If you’ve been indicted by a grand jury in Ohio, taking immediate steps to understand your rights and developing a solid defense strategy is essential. 

What Happens After an Indictment is Issued?

Once an indictment is issued, the legal process moves swiftly into its next phase. If you’re already in custody when indicted, your trial preparations begin while you remain detained. The timeline to trial may vary based on a host of factors, including court scheduling, evidence review procedures, and motions filed by your defense attorney.

Alternatively, if you have not yet been arrested when an indictment is returned, law enforcement will then try to locate and arrest you on these charges. 

Following the indictment and subsequent to your arrest, you will be taken into custody. It cannot be emphasized enough how crucial it is at this juncture – if it hasn’t been done already – to reach out to a skilled criminal defense lawyer. The initial hearings following your arrest, which include arraignment and bail hearings, set the stage for the remainder of your legal journey. 

Will Bail Be Granted?

Whether bail will be granted after an indictment depends on several factors, and ultimately, it is the presiding judge or magistrate who has discretion over this decision. Here’s what may weigh in:

The Seriousness of the Charges

More severe charges tend to correspond with higher bail amounts or denial of bail altogether because they can imply an increase in flight risk or threat to public safety.

The Prosecutor’s Recommendation

The prosecutor’s stance during your hearing can influence judicial decisions. They might present arguments as to why granting you bail would – or wouldn’t – be appropriate, given details unique to your case.

Your History of Court Appearances

If you have exhibited unreliability by missing previous court hearings, a judge is likely to doubt whether you’ll attend future appearances if released on bail.

Community Ties

Individuals with strong community connections – including family, employment, and residences – are often considered less of a flight risk because they are established in the community. This may positively influence a judge to consider you invested enough in the area not to abscond.

Ultimately, the decision regarding bail hinges on careful consideration of these factors – and others – and is up to the judge. A criminal defense lawyer can be particularly influential during this argument, highlighting ways in which you contribute to your local area and are anchored there by various responsibilities.

Contact Our Cincinnati Criminal Defense Attorneys If You Have Been Indicted

Navigating the legal complexities following an indictment is not a journey you should take alone. Your freedom, reputation, and future depend on the outcome, making competent legal representation absolutely critical. If you need assistance, contact us today at (513) 333-0014 to schedule a free consultation with a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers.