Every person arrested and charged with an offense in the State of Georgia will follow the same basic process. The criminal process begins with an arrest. After a formal arrest, depending on the crime with which a person is charged, a person will face formal charges in the form of an Accusation or an Indictment.
An Accusation is a document drawn by a prosecutor, for which no Grand Jury is needed. An Accusation may formally charge an individual with traffic offenses, drug possession, etc.
An Indictment is a formal charging document for which a Grand Jury is needed. A Grand Jury is a jury pool of 16 to 23 people, living in the county/jurisdiction where the charges were allegedly committed. This Grand Jury listens to limited evidence placed before them by the prosecutor in that County. After hearing this limited evidence, the Grand Jury will determine whether there is sufficient cause to formally charge the individual by way of Indictment. Indictments are not convictions, and in some cases, a formal Indictment may be granted and charges can later be dismissed, or a person can even acquitted. Indictments are sought on the State’s theory, only, and citizens do not have the right to present their side of the story during this process.
Once an Accusation or Indictment has been filed against an individual, that person will be called before the Court for an Arraignment. An Arraignment is a court date to formally notify the person of the charges pending against them and request that they enter a plea. The standard pleas that can be entered are Nolo Contendre, Not Guilty and Guilty. It is important to have advice from an attorney before attending an Arraignment date, as neither the Judge nor the prosecutor may give you any legal advice in which plea to enter.
After an Arraignment date, most cases are placed on a series of calendars called Calendar Calls and Jury Trial Calendars. These calendars can be large, time consuming and concerning, as a charged person navigates how to effectively defend their case. Here at Horne & Griffis, we pride ourselves on the ability to walk our clients through the criminal process with as much information as possible. We believe that in the turmoil of pending charges, we can add some peace to the situation by making sure that our clients understand what to expect at each and every court date.
Having an experienced attorney who can explain the criminal process and procedure is important for any charge you may be facing. Call today for an in-person or online virtual consultation. Your rights are our priority.