Criminal charges carry with them a heft that can impact your future job prospects and quality of life. For this reason, it is important to understand the ways in which these charges may be brought. Your criminal lawyer in Arizona can best answer your questions regarding your specific charge and case, but understanding what to expect from a criminal charge is helpful knowledge.
In essence, a criminal charge can be brought about in three ways, according to FindLaw.com :
Indictment is defined as a written accusation charging that an individual has committed an act that is punishable by law. It originates with a prosecutor and is found and presented by a grand jury, though before the individual may be convicted, the charge must be proved during trial beyond any reasonable doubt. Its purpose is to inform the accused individual of the full extent of their charge so that he or she will be able to work with their Phoenix criminal attorney to prepare a defense.
Information refers to a written document which the prosecutor files. It alleges that the accused individual committed a crime and may be based upon a criminal complaint, which is a petition to the prosecutor “requesting that criminal charges be initiated”.
Citations are issued by a police officer and are reserved for minor criminal offenses or misdemeanors. These include jaywalking, littering, or a minor traffic offense, and usually carry less punishment than the abovementioned methods.
Being issued any of the above mechanisms does not mean that your innocence or guilt are already pre-determined. Instead, they illustrate that sufficient evidence exists for a person to be brought into trial within the guidelines of the law.
What to Do
Regardless of the mechanism through which you are issued a criminal charge, it imperative that you get in touch with a qualified and experienced criminal lawyer in Arizona. Only then, under the knowledge of a local professional, will your charges have the potential to be reduced or even dropped. That’s just the first step, though – finding an attorney with tons of experience isn’t always enough. Choose an attorney who you can trust. Find the person who can and will help you turn your life around.
Definitions were found at http://public.findlaw.com/abaflg/flg-15-2b-1.html.