So What's an Indictment anyway?
The term "indictment" (pronounced in-dite-ment) is used to indicate the process where a grand jury finds sufficient evidence to charge a person for a specified felony offense. The prosecutor must bring evidence and witnesses to the grand jury in order to convince the jurors that the charges are "real" and substantiated. The term for this is "taking the case to the grand jury", and under the constitution, this must be done in a speedy manor (Sixth Amendment to the Constitution). States have considerable leeway to decide what constitutes "speedy", and if the accused is not detained, the definition becomes even more broad. But generally, detained = ~100 days; non-detained = ~9 months. If this period elapses with no action on the case, a motion can be made to acquit the accused for want of prosecution.
For example, possession of 5 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor offense, not a felony. Therefore, there would be no grand jury. However, possession of 1lbs of marijuana, with distribution charges and felony crossing state lines, would absolutely be taken to a grand jury.
Remember this -- a criminal conviction for drug abuse, no matter how minor, will have devastating consequences for your life and future job prospects (remember that little box you have to check indicating a conviction?). Do you have a drug charge? Let us help you immediately. 703-402-2723.
Sean Hanover, Esq.
Offices in Fairfax and DC
888 16th St. NW
Washington, DC 20006