Avoiding Grand Jury by Waiving an Indictment
There are instances where an accused desires to waive his constitutional right to indictment. This can be accomplished through execution of a waiver of indictment, in which case an individual is tried based on an “accusation.” The decision as to whether to execute a waiver should only be made with the assistance of an experienced attorney. The lawyers at our firm, the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, possess over 60 years of NJ criminal defense experience, including many years as prosecuting attorneys. One of our lawyers is available immediately to assist you in this decision at 1-877-450-8301.
The Waiver Process
When an individual is charged with an indictable criminal offense , which is New Jersey’s version of a felony charge, the prosecutor is required to present the case to a grand jury. The accused can be given the option of avoiding indictment and proceeding directly to a plea. He must, however, execute a waiver of indictment before a plea to the accusation can be accepted by the Court. An accusation is a document that is drafted by the prosecutor reciting the charges against the accused, and basically mimics an indictment. A defendant typically proceeds by way of accusation where the prosecution has made a favorable plea offer such that it is not in the defendant’s best interest to proceed to indictment (e.g. charges would be worse). For a waiver to be effective, the defendant must appear before a Superior Court judge with his or her attorney, and confirm his understanding of his or her rights. He or she has a right to have the case presented to a grand jury in NJ with an opportunity for issuance of a “No Bill.” By executing the waiver, the individual is confirming that he or she is knowingly waiving his or her right to grand jury presentment and proceeding by way of accusation. Once the waiver is reviewed with the accused, it is signed by the Judge and the accusation can be presented for consideration by the Court. The defendant thereafter enters his or her plea of guilty to the accusation.
If you or a loved one requires assistance in the waiver process or any other context, our attorneys are available 24/7 at 1-877-450-8301. One of our lawyers would be happy to assist you.