The criminal process directs that those arrested be charged with a crime or released within a certain time (usually 2 or 3 days). There is more than a single way for these charges to come about, however. Read on to find out more about how the charging process works.
1. Charging Document
It's safe to say that almost all charges are filed by law enforcement following an arrest in the below manner. These are the typical arrests that occur during a normal, daily patrol. Often, suspicious behavior is observed and a quick investigation results in an arrest. Take these instances, for example:
- A roadside stop results in a DUI arrest and charges
- A report from a store owner results in a theft arrest and charges
- A domestic violence call results in an assault arrest and charges
In most cases, a charging document is prepared by law enforcement. This document gives as much information as is known at the time about the alleged crime. By the way, there are no laws that give you the right to know what you are being arrested for at the scene or at the time of the arrest. In cases like the above. You are told about the charges at your arraignment.
2. After an Investigation
Information may come to law enforcement from various sources and an investigation may begin based on that info. Once enough probable cause has been determined, an arrest warrant and charging document are prepared. One example of this type of charging method is an allegation of drug activity. A case must be built and arrests must be carried out carefully to preserve evidence and to be as throughout as possible. Other examples might include fraud, employee theft, human trafficking, and more. In most cases, the investigation is carried out by detectives rather than police officers.
3. Grand Jury Indictments
In many jurisdictions, very serious crimes like rape, kidnapping, and murder cases have to go through a grand jury process after charges are brought but before a trial begins. This consists of citizens chosen for jury duty who listen to only the state's side of the case. This one-sided practice either results in a recommendation to go to trial or not. The state prosecutor, however, is under no obligation to follow the grand jury's recommendations.
If you or a loved one has been arrested and facing charges, speak to a criminal defense attorney at once.