What Is A Grand Jury In A Criminal Case?
You may have heard the phrase “impaneling a grand jury” and didn’t overthink it. That is until you are arrested for an alleged crime. Then all of a sudden, the grand jury’s purpose and role become so much more important to understand.
If you were arrested, a grand jury might be used before your trial. The grand jury is not the same thing as the jury that you will have at your trial if your case goes that far. After a criminal arrest in Florida, you may be facing your day in court. A Florida grand jury could be impaneled. In this article, the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at the Joshi Law Office, PA, will discuss their role and what service they provide.
What Does a Grand Jury Do in a Criminal Case?
Not every case will have a grand jury. Some will only have a judge evaluate the prosecution’s evidence during a preliminary hearing. In this scenario, a judge, not a grand jury, will decide if the prosecution makes a viable enough case for a criminal trial to proceed.
When a judge is not involved, though, a grand jury will be. A grand jury plays a very important role in ensuring that prosecutors do not get too zealous with their charging of defendants. Without the check and balances of a grand jury, a prosecutor could easily charge a defendant with unnecessary harsh charges that do not adequately represent the severity of the alleged crimes. As a result, if a conviction happens, a defendant may end up suffering stringent penalties for a crime that does not warrant such a high level of punishment. In this way, a grand jury keeps the prosecution in line so that the charging is accurate and fairer for the actual crimes that were alleged to be committed.
Therefore, before your case goes to trial, a grand jury will listen to the prosecution’s explanation for the charges they put upon you. The prosecution has to convince the grand jury with ample proof that the charges are correct for the situation and the crime.
Where a trial jury’s job is to assess the defendant’s arguments against the prosecution’s and decide on guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, a grand jury’s duty is quite different. Not only is the makeup of the grand jury different from a trial jury, a grand jury usually includes more jurors, but the purpose is also dissimilar. In evaluating if the charges should move forward, a grand jury must only have a majority of the members agree. By contrast, a trial jury will have to return a verdict that is agreed upon by everyone.
Speak to a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It can be scary thinking about your future and everything you will have to go through when you have been arrested for a crime. But you can have support through the entire process. With the help of an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney at Joshi Law, you can rest assured that you have the most aggressive and strategic legal counsel fighting on your behalf to secure the best results.
Call the Joshi Law Firm, PA, today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case at (407) 661-1109.