Indictment vs. an Information in Florida

Posted on July 2, 2012 in: Traffic Cases

When facing a criminal procedure, many are confused by the process and how it works. The best way to learn what you can expect to happen is by consulting a South Florida criminal attorney.

This can be a very difficult time for someone facing charges. You should seek strong legal representation from someone who will look out for your rights, make sure your best interests are always the priority, and ensure that the legal process is carried out in a fair manner.

An Overview of a Criminal Procedure

In general, a criminal case starts with an indictment or information. These are two types of formal accusations against an individual who is suspected of committing a crime. From there, the accused is either arrested or goes to court, depending on the type of crime and other important factors.

Before a trial can begin, there will be an arraignment and a formal investigation of the charges. Eventually, a court date will be set, and the process of selecting a jury and other aspects of the trial will begin. A verdict will be rendered, followed by a judgment and sentencing. The opportunity to appeal is made available to the accused.

Difference Between an Indictment and Information

While an indictment and an information is considered to be the formal accusation made against an individual, they are not the same. An indictment is when evidence is presented before a grand jury for consideration. It is at this time that the accused will enter a guilty or not guilty plea.

The evidence presented is intended to convince the grand jury that it is very likely the accused actually committed the crime. It is up to the grand jury to agree with the findings or not.

Indictments are usually done in cases involving felonies. They don’t generally occur when the criminal case involves a misdemeanor.

So if the crime is less serious, or the accused agrees that the evidence is enough for a case to proceed, then instead of an indictment, the case will begin with information. The accused waives his or her right to have the criminal case brought before a grand jury.

It is less common for criminal proceedings to begin with an indictment. Most begin with an information. In many cases it starts with a ticket or documentation indicating an arrest that has been made.

Although an individual can be arrested without the information, once an individual goes to court, it must be provided. An officer may also be able to ask for an arrest warrant or for a summons, informing the accused of a court date.

There are some advantages to information compared to an indictment. And some definite rights may not be protected when facing an indictment. This is why you should seek legal help from the moment after an arrest.

Contacting a South Florida Criminal Attorney

The prospect of being accused of a serious crime can be overwhelming. Even in misdemeanor cases, your entire world could be turned upside down. However, with the right kind of legal counsel, you can rest assured that someone will work on your behalf to protect your rights at all times.

If you face a criminal case in South Florida, look for an attorney who is experienced and aggressive. Seeking legal counsel from a qualified attorney at Falk & Ross Law Firm can help you better understand your rights and how to protect them. Contact us today for a free consultation – 1-877-663-5110 or 1-305-741-6997.

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