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

Millis, MA |
Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

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.



i'm not the one being indicted. i'm the victim in this case. the woman who said this to me works in the district attorney's office.

Michael P. Gerace

Michael P. Gerace


If that's the case, then it sounds like the dewfendant may be boubnd over to sup ct.--if the probable cause hearing goes the prosecution's way and/or the indictment happens.


M.G.L. c. 218, § 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.


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)



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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