The indictment process in California

Thousands of people are arrested in California every year. Only a relatively small percentage of these people are indicted. People who are indicted have to face a number of steps before they fully learn what they are being charged with. This process is known as the criminal indictment process. A person charged with a crime can learn a great deal about criminal justice by studying the criminal indictment process.

What is the indictment process: arrest

The arrest is usually the first step in the felony indictment process. There are a number of ways arrests can happen. A police officer can witness an incident and believe there is probable cause to arrest a person. They can collect evidence at a precinct and issue a warrant for a person’s arrest. In some cases, there are alternatives to arrest that have a similar effect on beginning the felony indictment process. People can receive a citation and a summons to appear in court as an alternative process of the indictment.
What is the indictment process: incarceration
Booking is the next step in the process of the indictment. People have to go through a wide variety of steps. They have their mugshot and fingerprints taken. All of their belongings are noted and taken. The individual has to be led to a jail cell with a wide variety of other inmates. Then, they are given the ability to post bail and get out of jail. In some instances, they are released on their own recognizance.

Pre-trial hearing

Whenever a person is arrested and booked, they have to go before a judge in both the state and federal indictment process. The next step is known as the habeas corpus hearing. At the habeas corpus hearing, a judge determines whether or not there was enough evidence to originally charge a person of a crime. The habeas corpus hearing is set up to determine whether or not a police officer was acting unfairly when they decided to arrest a person. It helps prevent police officers from unfairly arresting and locking people up without any sort of probable cause, especially in the federal indictment process. In the vast majority of cases, a judge determines that there was some initial evidence of a crime. They set bail and declare a trial date or a date for the next hearing.
In some instances, this is the stage where a grand jury meets. The grand jury is part of understanding the secret indictment process. It comes together and decides whether there is enough evidence to indict an individual. If they do, the indictment is issued for a particular set of charges and a trial date is set. Because they are relatively secret and their workings are not known to the public, the grand jury is part of understanding the secret indictment process.

What to do?

The best way for an individual to fight back against an indictment is to get out of jail as quickly as possible. Getting out of jail ensures that a person has their freedom relatively soon. They can more adequately plan their defense outside of the jail’s four walls. Then, a person charged with a crime should enlist the help of an attorney. Many attorneys have reasonable fees and charge according to the severity of the crime. They know the law much better than a person being charged with a crime. There is a strong chance that they will be able to lessen a potential sentence or even lead to an acquittal. Attorneys are almost always worth whatever an individual pays for them. Consider reading about how to avoid an arrest warrant in California


Anyone who is arrested has a harrowing process ahead of them. They could be charged with a serious crime by the grand jury indictment process. They may even be sentenced to jail time. A simple arrest could lead to a person getting fired or not being able to get a job in the future from either the petit or grand jury indictment process. As a result, a person needs to prioritize their defense and reduce the impact of their arrest by as much as possible. They should be able to do this in many instances if they secure release as quickly as they can.