If you find yourself in trouble with law enforcement, you may immediately think that you will have serious charges brought against you. However, a simple traffic stop or other relatively minor interaction with a police officer may not mean that you will face formal charges as some cases may warrant a warning only. Still, the possibility does exist that criminal charges could come against you in other scenarios.
Even after an officer takes you into custody, you likely have not had formal charges brought against you. When it comes to filing formal charges, a prosecutor could utilize various methods.
Methods of bringing criminal charges
The method chosen for bringing criminal charges can depend on the circumstances of the crime and the arrest, if applicable. For instance, the law typically handles an infraction differently than a serious felony charge. Ways in which a prosecutor could bring formal charges against you include the following:
- If an officer believes that you have committed an infraction, such as speeding, you may have charges brought against you in the form of a citation. The citation, also commonly known as a ticket, acts just like any other criminal charge, which means you have the right to defend against it or other citations in court.
- A prosecutor may wish to utilize a grand jury as another way to bring formal charges. The prosecutor will present evidence to the grand jury, which will then decide whether to indict you on formal charges.
- Another method for bringing formal charges involves filing a document known as the information. A prosecutor creates the information document in which he or she describes the series of events that led to your arrest and how your actions were illegal.
If formal charges are brought against you, your case will then likely proceed to trial. Of course, if police have taken you into custody, you may want to start thinking about your criminal defense options before formal charges come about. Though the possibility does exist that formal charges will not come against you, it is typically best to prepare nonetheless.
From the moment of your arrest, you have undoubtedly had a great deal on your mind about what events will soon unfold. Understandably, your churning mind may have you feeling considerably stressed. Fortunately, you can seek help throughout your case from an Indiana criminal defense attorney who can help you understand all aspects of the process.