The United States Attorney’s Office is the federal government office responsible for prosecuting crimes. Generally, there are two ways that they may formally notify you of the criminal charges against you. If you are charged with a felony then you may learn of the charges through an indictment. An indictment is obtained after the U.S. Attorney’s Office has presented evidence to a grand jury and after the grand jury has found that you probably committed the crime and should be charged. A grand jury cannot find you guilty and cannot impose penalties. You remain innocent until proven guilty despite the grand jury’s indictment.
Some less serious felonies and federal misdemeanors may not go before a Virginia grand jury, thus, no indictment will be issued. Instead, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can issue an information. The information will detail the charges against you.
Both an indictment and an information are formal legal documents. They may be difficult to understand and if you are convicted of the crimes detailed in the indictment or information then you may face serious consequences. Accordingly, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced Fairfax federal criminal defense lawyer as soon as you think that you might be in trouble. You do not have to wait for the formal indictment or information to be provided to contact a Northern Virginia criminal defense attorney. It is important to get the legal help that you need to fight the charges against you and protect your rights throughout your Virginia federal criminal case.