No matter your case or that of the loved one in question, knowing the ins and outs of an indictment will allow you to understand the key stages of a process that can sometimes seem intimidating.

We all know that the arrest of a person represents the result of a police investigation. But what about when the person concerned is indicted? Concretely, how does this procedure take place?

Indictment: what is it?

The indictment is the last step in a criminal investigation. It is decreed by an examining magistrate who considers that he has sufficient evidence against a person to charge him with a crime or misdemeanour. This person is then officially considered as warned…

The accused may during an examination, be assisted by thelawyer Of his choice. The latter will have access to the defendant's file. He will question her and then encourage her to speak to him in complete transparency. By extension, the lawyer will invite him to provide all the elements related to the case, without omitting a single one. The goal is to avoid the indictment, at least, to limit the breakage.

The indictment may be pronounced at the end of police custody, after a immediate appearance or at a remand hearing. This is referred to as "direct indictment". The investigating judge may also decide not to put the person under investigation and to close the investigation. It all depends on the folder and the items it has.

Indictment: the consequences

Unsurprisingly, the indictment has consequences on the judicial process, but also on the life of the accused. As soon as he is indicted, the accused can be prosecuted before the Assize Court if he is tried for a crime, or before the Criminal Court if he is tried for a misdemeanor. He then faces a prison sentence ranging, in some cases, to life.

If the accused is tried for a misdemeanor, he faces a prison sentence of up to five years. The Assize Court and the Criminal Court can simultaneously pronounce additional penalties, such as a ban on staying in a specific place or even a ban on practicing a profession.

How is an examination carried out?

First, the accused receives an official notification from the investigating judge inviting him to appear on a specific date. This notification informs him of the opening of an investigation against him and his indictment. The accused then has the obligation to appear at the appointed time in court.

He is then questioned by the investigating judge in the presence of the lawyer of his choice. Thus, the judge and the prosecutor seek to determine the degree of involvement of the defendant in the case. The accused has the obligation to answer the questions put to him, but is not obliged to confess his crime or misdemeanour. The duration of this stage generally varies between one and three hours.

The investigating judge can then decide to indict the accused, or to close the case. Here, the solidity of the arguments of the defendant and the lawyer can make all the difference!

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