Going through the criminal justice process can be difficult to understand at best and overwhelming and anxiety provoking at worst. Recognizing the roles that parties and groups play in the management of your criminal case is important.
And retaining a criminal defense attorney who knows the lay of the land is extremely helpful for helping to dispel any myths. A common question asked by criminal defendants has to do with the role of the grand jury in filing Florida cases. It is easy to fall subject to assuming this information about the Florida grand jury, but this could make things much more difficult for you than otherwise necessary. When someone has knowledge of a crime or is a victim, they will file a sworn statement with the proper authority and this is known as a complaint.
After a complaint has been investigated and the complaint is determined to meet the probable cause grounds, a crime can be charged either by indictment or information. There must be an arrest with an accompanying police report in order for a criminal case to be filed. At that point in time, a prosecutor reviews the police report and any relevant evidence to decide whether or not any criminal charges should be filed. A preliminary hearing is then scheduled with a judge where a decision is made as to whether or not enough evidence already exists. There are many different facts that can determine whether or not the state decides to move forward with the prosecution.
The grand jury’s role is very similar to a regular jury, although a grand jury’s primary position is only to decide whether or not to charge someone, rather than deciding on the innocence or guilt of that person through trial. The prosecutor presents evidence to the grand jury and then the grand jury is responsible for handing back a verdict on whether or not they feel that those charges are warranted. You can speak to your criminal defense attorney to get a better understanding of what is involved in the grand jury process.