You’ve been accused of committing serious crimes. You find out that your case is going to go before a grand jury.
You can’t believe how quickly things are progressing and it sounds like this jury is going to get to decide if you’re guilty or not. But what does a grand jury really do? It’s important to know so that you can consider your defense options and all of the steps that will need to be taken as this process plays out.
A grand jury decides if there’s enough evidence for a trial
A grand jury will not decide if you are guilty or innocent. They have no say in whether you pay financial fines or go to jail. If you assumed that the grand jury was going to decide your fate, you’re not nearly that far through the process yet.
Instead, a grand jury will generally just look at the evidence that has been presented and the arguments being made, and then it will determine if there should even be a trial. If so, then you will face an indictment.
But there are many cases in which a grand jury simply decides that there is no reason for a trial or not enough evidence for it to make sense to actually hold the case. If that’s what they decide, then you’re not going to have to go to trial at all.
So, what the grand jury decides is certainly very important for your future, but it is just one of the preliminary steps in the entire case. As you work your way forward, depending on the outcome of that grand jury, you need to carefully consider all of your legal options.