Many people think “indicted” and “charged” mean the same thing regarding crimes in Nevada. But there are some significant differences between these words that are important to understand.
What It Means to Be Indicted
If a grand jury votes that there is enough evidence against you, you are indicted.
This means felony criminal charges are formally being brought against you.
A grand jury is a small group of citizens who listen to evidence from prosecutors.
If they think you committed the felony crime, they indict you.
What It Means to Be Charged
When police or prosecutors file official charges against you, you have been charged with a crime. This can happen for felonies or misdemeanors. The prosecutor or District Attorney directly decides to charge you. With indictments, the grand jury decides first.
The Main Differences
Here are the critical differences between indicted and charged:
- Indicted cases go to a grand jury first. Charged cases do not.
- You can only be indicted for felonies. You can be charged with felonies or misdemeanors.
- Prosecutors decide on charges. Grand juries decide on indictments.
Let’s say Jim is arrested for robbing a gas station at gunpoint. This is a felony crime. The prosecutor will present evidence to a grand jury about Jim’s case. If they indict Jim, he is formally accused of armed robbery.
But if Sally is caught shoplifting from a store, she may just be charged by the prosecutor directly. She was charged because shoplifting is a misdemeanor crime, so no grand jury is needed.
The Bottom Line
Now you know indicted and charged don’t mean the same thing. Indicted cases go to a grand jury first. Charged can happen for any crime. Knowing the difference is vital if you’re accused of a crime in Nevada!
The main takeaway is that “indicted” and “charged” are legal words that do not mean the same thing in Nevada’s criminal justice system.
Being indicted means a grand jury looked at just felony crimes and decided there is enough evidence to take your case to trial. Being charged simply means the prosecutor filed official charges against you for either a felony or misdemeanor.
Both words accuse you of a crime, but the steps to get there differ. Understanding and tracking whether your case was indicted or charged in Nevada can help you make smarter choices when dealing with criminal accusations.
The first step is always to talk to an experienced attorney to protect your rights!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of a grand jury in an indictment?
A grand jury hears evidence presented by the prosecutor and votes on whether to issue an indictment if they believe there is probable cause of a crime.
Does a grand jury decide if someone is guilty?
No, a grand jury only determines if there is enough evidence for probable cause. A trial jury determines guilt or innocence.
Can I be charged with a felony without an indictment?
Yes, the prosecutor can file felony charges without a grand jury indictment.
What happens once a grand jury indicts me?
After the indictment, you will be arraigned and enter a plea. Then, the case will proceed to trial unless a plea deal is reached.
Can a case proceed after charges but without an indictment?
Yes, misdemeanor cases, as well as felonies charged directly, will proceed despite no grand jury indictment.
What should I do if indicted or charged?
Contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Early legal advice is critical to build the most vigorous defense.
Is an indictment worse or more severe than being charged?
Legally, they carry the same weight, resulting in criminal proceedings. However, the indictment shows probable cause was found.
What is the first step after being indicted or charged?
The first step is to appear for your arraignment, enter a plea, and request bail/bond terms to release you pending trial.
Arraignment – The first court appearance after charges or an indictment where the defendant is read the charges and enters a plea.
Bail – Money or bond paid to the court to secure the temporary release of a defendant awaiting trial.
Criminal complaint – A formal charging document filed by the prosecutor alleging a person committed a specific crime.
Defendant – The person facing criminal charges or indictment.
District Attorney – The local prosecutor representing the city/state in criminal cases.
Felony – A serious crime punishable by over one year in prison, such as robbery, assault, or murder.
Grand jury – A group of citizens who listen to prosecution evidence and decide if an indictment is warranted.
Indictment – When a grand jury formally accuses someone of a felony crime after finding probable cause.
Misdemeanor – Minor crimes punishable by less than one year of jail time, such as petty theft, DUI, and disorderly conduct.
Probable cause – Reasonable belief that a crime was committed based on the evidence needed for indictment.
Additional Resources for You
Our lead attorney, Molly Rosenblum, Esq, has also created a variety of resources to assist you with your legal needs. Don’t hesitate to review these important materials:
Criminal Defense Attorneys: A trusted source of legal defense and advice for criminal charges.
Felonies in Nevada: An informative resource for understanding the intricacies of felonies in the state of Nevada.
Attorneys Answer Your Questions About Miranda Rights: Get answers to your pressing questions about Miranda rights from experienced legal professionals.
Firearms Defense Lawyers: Effective legal advice for individuals facing firearm-related charges.
Theft Defense Lawyers: Legal assistance for those facing theft charges, aiming to provide the best possible defense.
Winning Felony Cases in Nevada: A guide to understanding and navigating the process of defending against felony charges in Nevada.
Drug Possession Defense Lawyer: Legal support and strategies for individuals facing drug possession charges.
Marijuana Possession Questions? We’ve Got Answers.: A comprehensive resource for queries relating to Marijuana possession laws in Las Vegas.
Juvenile Defense Lawyers: Specialized legal defense services for juvenile cases.
Juvenile Charges: Get Legal Advice: Effective legal advice for understanding and handling juvenile charges.
Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful
Here are some additional resources that might be useful in understanding the concepts of indictment and charges, as well as the criminal justice system in Nevada:
FindLaw’s Guide on Grand Juries: This resource explains the role of a grand jury in the indictment process.
Legal Information Institute’s Article on Probable Cause: This article explains the concept of probable cause, which is often used in the context of indictments and charges.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Resources: This organization provides a wealth of resources about criminal defense law, which could be helpful in understanding the steps to take if you’re indicted or charged.
A Special Message from Our Lead Attorney
Molly Rosenblum, Esq
Thank you for reading through these legal resources explaining the difference between being indicted and being charged with a crime in Nevada.
I hope you understand these formal accusation processes and how grand juries function.
If you or someone you care about is facing criminal allegations, I encourage you to call my firm at (702) 433-2889 to set up a free initial case review.
My experienced team of Nevada defense attorneys is here to listen, provide honest assessments, explain your rights and options, and start building a solid defense strategy.
Don’t navigate the complex criminal justice system alone. We are here to support and advocate for you each step of the way.
Call today to learn how our firm can help guide you through these challenging circumstances.
I look forward to speaking with you.