When police placed those handcuffs on your wrists, you may have felt many emotions. Perhaps you were frightened and confused, or maybe you felt angry and betrayed. However, emotions do not have much to do with what happens over the next few days and weeks.
If you have little experience with the criminal justice system, you may have countless questions about what you should do and what you can expect. The process is routine for those involved, but for you, it is likely new and terrifying. Having a general understanding of what may happen may relieve some of the stress and allow you to focus on building your defense strategy.
What you may not know about your indictment
After police arrested you, they wrote reports of the incident in which you were involved. This included any details they obtained from witnesses or evidence they collected at the scene or during a search of your home. That report goes to the prosecutor, who must decide whether to file charges against you. The prosecutor may convene a grand jury to determine the charges you should face. When the grand jury agrees that you should face charges, this is called an indictment.
Even if a grand jury indicts you, there is still good reason to fight the charges. Some important factors to keep in mind include the following:
- The grand jury may not have heard any evidence to your defense.
- Prosecutors may have personal reasons for pursuing charges, such as political gain, even when evidence is weak.
- Current policies or public pressure may place some obligation on authorities to prosecute certain crimes.
- The prosecutor is human and may have personal beliefs he or she feels compelled to uphold through your prosecution.
It is also possible that the police report contained misleading information or evidence investigators obtained unlawfully. These are only a few of the factors that could result with you facing a jury to fight for your freedom.
Don’t fight alone
A criminal conviction, even for a misdemeanor, can create life-long challenges for you. You may find it difficult to find or keep a job in your field, obtain certain professional licensing or qualify for some government benefits, such as student loans.
Having a skilled and experienced Illinois attorney in your corner means having an advocate to guide you through the complex legal process. Your lawyer will begin by carefully examining the details of your case and assisting you in determining the most appropriate course of action.