Analyzing A Criminal Law Indictment Or Information

Absent a waiver by the defendant, all federal felonies must be charged by grand jury indictment. Misdemeanors may be prosecuted by information. After a person is arrested, the government has a limited amount of time in which to file an indictment. An indictment must state every element of the criminal charge. An indictment must also contain a plain, concise and definite statement of the essential facts establishing the criminal charge. The indictment should provide the approximate dates, general location and sufficient detail regarding the behavior establishing the crime so that the defendant is adequately informed of the crime charged.

Discovery

There are many different statutory laws and rules that require the disclosure of information in criminal cases. Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure is the basic, and usually the exclusive, way that a defendant obtains discoverable information. Generally, Rule 16 requires that the government must disclose the following types of evidence
• Recorded and written statements made by the
defendant before or after arrest
• Defendant’s prior criminal record
• Documents and tangible objects to be used by the
government or taken from the defendant
• Reports of scientific tests and medical
examinations
• Information related to any expert witness testimony

Negotiated Changes of Plea

Plea bargaining is an acceptable way of resolving criminal charges. If the government decides to participate in plea bargaining, it must do so in a non-discriminatory manner. The law of contracts applies to judicial review of plea bargains. Promises are enforceable as bargained for consideration. Rule 11 states that a defendant may plead guilty, not guilty or with the court’s permission, no contest. Guilty pleas are usually negotiated. Most commonly, the government agrees to dismiss certain criminal charges in exchange for a plea to the most serious count. The final agreement is in writing and supported by a factual basis. Criminal defense lawyer Stefanie C. Moon will work hard to get the right negotiated plea deal for you.

Motion Hearings

Before trial, both the government and the defense have an opportunity to file motions. The most common motions are those seeking to suppress evidence, clarify a witness’ criminal history and determine the admissibility of evidence that the government or defense may want to admit at trial. Contested motions are usually heard by the trial judge. Criminal defense lawyer Stefanie C. Moon will fight to protect your rights.