Receiving news of a federal indictment can be very intimidating to many Illinois residents. They can lead to felony convictions and prison time. Due to the severity of these charges, it’s important to understand the basics of how they operate and how they can affect you.
What is a federal indictment?
Federal indictments are formal charges against you by a grand jury. Once the federal prosecutor indicts you, the case will go to a federal trial. To obtain an indictment, the prosecutors have to present a variety of information to the grand jury, including:
- Summation of the alleged crime
Can you be present during the grand jury process?
The grand jury may hear the allegations against you in secret. Neither you nor your legal representation are required to be present when the grand jury hears the case against you. This process of obtaining a federal indictment can last for weeks without you being notified.
What crimes are subject to a federal indictment?
Any crime that violates U.S. federal codes can be subject to a federal indictment. Federal codes cover both violent crimes and white-collar crimes. Examples of crimes that you may face a federal indictment for include, but are not limited to, these acts:
- Aggravated forms of assault, abuse, fraud or battery
- Crimes involving federal property
- Activities involving intentional harm
- Fraud, embezzlement or money laundering
- Cyber crimes
- Tax evasion
- Child pornography
Federal indictments do not mean you are going to prison
A grand jury ruling in favor of a federal indictment does not mean that they found you guilty of the crime. They simply believe that there is enough evidence to charge you and allow a federal trial to proceed. The prosecutor still needs to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.