“Probable cause” is the legal term used to explain the circumstances or evidence pointing to the guilt of the suspect in a crime. A policeman for instance, can’t arrest someone based on intuition alone, he must have some kind of reasonable justification.
When probable cause applies to the function of a grand jury investigation it means that the twelve members of the panel must agree that there is enough documentation to back up the prosecution’s case against its suspect.
A grand jury doesn’t decide guilt or innocence, they’re job is to deliberate on the facts that are presented to them by the prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney may present evidence to the grand jury even if there has been no arrest made in the case. If the jury finds that the evidence presented is sufficient to indict, an arrest warrant will be issued. When the suspect is apprehended he will face charges.
A suspect may be released after his arrest while the prosecution conducts its own investigation to determine if there is enough evidence to bring before a grand jury. This is an opportune time for a defense lawyer to attempt to work out a plea deal with the prosecuting attorney. If the charges are reduced or waived the case will not be handed over to the grand jury.
A grand jury hearing is conducted under a less official environment than a courtroom trial. The prosecuting attorney is usually the only lawyer present, and the rules of evidence are greatly relaxed with one major exception and that is the attention to secrecy. Proceedings are held in privacy and any information divulged is privileged. This policy allows witnesses to testify without being intimidated. It also protects the reputation of the suspect in case the evidence is insufficient to indict.
Having an experienced attorney on your side will greatly increase the chances of avoiding a grand jury indictment. If you are facing these circumstances put yourself in the reliable hands of Parker Lawyers. Call the offices @ 303-841-9525.