When a Tennessee resident is arrested for a white-collar crime, it’s often prosecuted on the federal level. Before the case can proceed, a federal indictment occurs. This is what happens afterward.
When a federal indictment occurs
If a person has been accused of certain white-collar crimes such as tax evasion, wire fraud, child pornography or identity theft, they are generally charged at the federal level. Whatever the specific crime, when federal charges are involved, a grand jury is convened to decide whether the accused will be charged. Sometimes, witnesses are called to testify. Evidence is presented to the grand jury as well. Grand jury proceedings are done in secret, which means that the accused and their attorney are not present.
Depending on the circumstances, it could take days, weeks or even longer for a grand jury to reach a decision on indicting a person.
What to expect after a federal indictment
If the grand jury ultimately decides that the accused should be charged, the case then moves on to a federal trial. The trial must take place within 70 days of the federal indictment unless the defendant chooses to waive their right to a speedy trial.
A person should act quickly upon learning they have been federally indicted. They are not under any obligation to answer questions posed by law enforcement and should only speak to an attorney.
The defense attorney is provided discovery, which involves all the evidence that could be used in the trial. The discovery process allows the defense to determine the best course of action. A motion can be filed if the defense doesn’t believe the evidence was properly obtained or if they have questions. Motions are reviewed and ruled on before the trial proceeds.
The prosecution has the burden of proof in the case and must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty to get a verdict. The defense will argue the case and present additional evidence if necessary.
Federal trials involving white-collar crimes can take months or even years before a decision is reached on whether or not the defendant is found guilty.