What is the difference between a person being indicted and a case being indicted?

Asked about 2 years ago - Millis, MA

There is supposed to be a probable cause hearing some time in August, but the woman said that it probably won't happen because the case is being indicted. I'm not sure what she means by that.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Jeffrey K. Varszegi

    Contributor Level 14


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . M.G.L. c. 218, ยง 35A lays out the entitlement to a probable cause / show cause hearing. This depends on several factors: whether you were initially under arrest for the charged offense(s), whether the application for complaint / process was received from a law enforcement officer or not, etc. There is no requirement that a probable-cause hearing be held before an indictment is returned. An indictment is returned by a grand jury-- i.e. it means that criminal proceedings have been initiated in or bound over (transferred from the District Court to the Superior Court, where more serious criminal matters are tried). A case can still be pending in the District Court while an indictment is returned by the grand jury. If so, the District Court case will wind up being dismissed.

    Even without knowing more of the facts, your case must be quite serious. You should seek the advice of an attorney IMMEDIATELY, and not speak with anyone about your case until you do. This includes court personnel, DAs, police, and even your friends. Don't apologize to the alleged victim. Don't do anything except seek an attorney.

    The Boston Bar Association and Massachusetts Bar Association both offer free referrals to defense attorneys in your geographic area, and you can also be appointed a lawyer on the basis of indigency. Good luck.

  2. Michael P. Gerace

    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You should realize that indictment is a formal accusation (by a grand jury) to get you into superior court. A probable cause hearing is a district court proceeding to determine the same--whether you should go to superior court. The probable cause hearing cannot happen, of course, unless a comlaint has already issued and you have already been arraigned in district court. So your case is oblviously in disctrict court already.

    Who is the woman that said this to you? If you get indicted (a case is not indicted, but a person is), then you will be re-arraigned in sup ct. and your district court case will be dismissed.

    If you do not get indicted, then you stay in district court to resolve the matter.

  3. Dominic L. Pang

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Your case involves a criminal charge or charges that originated in the district court as a "criminal complaint", but could also be handled by the superior court under an "indictment". The indictment is the charging document used in the superior court. It is analogous to the complaint at the district court level.

    What the woman in your case probably meant that sometime before you probable cause hearing date in August, the DAs office will present your matter to the grand jury, the grand jury will issue an indictment, and you will be arraigned in the superior court. If all three of these things happen, the district court complaint will be dismissed and there will not be a probable cause hearing in the district court.

    Being indicted means (amongst other things) that you are open to more severe penalties if convicted. If you have not yet done so, get a good lawyer.

    Best of luck,
    Dominic Pang (617-538-1127)

  4. Henry Lebensbaum

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . None

    henry lebensbaum esq 300 Brickstone Sq Ste 201 andover, ma -- attorneylebensbaum@verizon.net (978) 749-3606.
    Criminal Law (all courts), Drunk Driving, Drugs, Violence, Sex Offenses, theft, SORB, Divorce Child Custody Alimony Child Support & Modification, Contempts & Paternity Juveniles Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders, Business Law, Personal Injury, Guardianship, Conservatorship & Estate Administration & Legal Malpractice. For these & other areas, contact me. Email sent may be copied intercepted or held by computers.

    Criminal Law (all misdemeanor & felonies in District and Superior Courts), Drunk Driving and Drug arrests, Sex... more
  5. Valerie J. Semensi

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . The answers you have received are correct. The case is presented to the grand jury for indictment. If a "true bill" is found, then the person is indicted, arraigned on the indictment at district court, and the case then is transferred to Superior Court. Either the allegations are quite serious or your record is lengthy and serious...either way, it appears that you need the assitance of an experienced attorney. Try to find someone well-known in that court or preferrably with DA experienced (we often have an edge, as we were trained as a prosecutor).

    Best of Luck!

    Valerie Semensi @ 781.383.1940

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