Process of Indictment, an Interview with St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer, Kevin Roach
The following is an interview about the process of indictment in the state if Missouri with St. Louis criminal defense lawyer, Kevin Roach.
Interviewer: What does it mean to be indicted?
Kevin Roach: Cases in St. Louis, the general procedures that they go through are you are usually charged, you are arrested first of all and then once you are arrested you get a court date. You are arraigned. Now, if it's a traditional case they have a preliminary hearing where the police officer and the prosecutor have to present evidence to basically prove that there is sufficient evidence to go forward with the case. It is a really low burden that they have to prove. There is a preliminary hearing. If it is a Grand Jury case, which I see a lot of times, it is usually in weaker cases where they don't have a lot of evidence, they True Bill them or they send them to Grand Jury. Basically, when it is a True Bill or Grand Jury case there is no preliminary hearing. They don't have to have a hearing where the officer testifies and they show the judge that there is sufficient evidence to go forward with the case.
People Often Over React to Being Indicted By a Grand Jury
When people see that they were indicted by a Grand Jury they get all worried. They are like this must be really, really serious but my experience is that usually it's the weaker cases that the prosecutor chooses to send them to the Grand Jury. Because they don't want to risk losing at a preliminary hearing and they don't want to give you a chance to cross examine the police officer and really see how weak their case is. So, they send it to the grand jury. They are kind of worried about it. Basically what it is, the prosecutor, when they want to indict somebody by Grand Jury they present the evidence to the Grand Jury. Nobody else is allowed to be in the room. The defense attorney isn't. The defendant is not allowed to be there. They are the only ones there and they present it to the Grand Jury in such a way they always get the incitement. Very rarely is their case refused by a Grand Jury. It is just an easy way for them to get the charge, get the case moving forward and not have to go through the preliminary process.
The Process of Bail in Missouri
Interviewer: What does house bail mean? How is house bail set?
Kevin Roach: For all felony cases there is typically a bail amount set. Now, on misdemeanor cases it is up to the discretion of the police department as to whether or not to set an initial bond. Most of the time on misdemeanors like if they pull you over, if someone gets pulled over for a DWI on Friday night, typically they don't make you post bond to get out. Sometimes they do but it is up to their discretion. On the other hand, on felonies, they go to the Circuit Court. There is almost always a bond set. Obviously, the bond on a Class D felony, it might be anywhere form twenty five hundred to five grand. It is going to be much less than the bond on a Class A or Class B felony. Basically, the bond is based on the severity of the charges. Which really affects your potential to flee and your likelihood of appearing in court. Because bond is not here to punish you. It is there to secure your appearance in court. Someone that is, for instance, charged on a Class A felony, they are probably not going to appear in court if there bond is only five hundred dollars. It is a pretty serious likelihood of going to jail is pretty high. The bond is set accordingly. The same with misdemeanors. People, if they are charged with a misdemeanor they are probably just not going to not show up to court and issue having a warrant go out for their arrest and make things a lot worse for themselves. As a general rule that is how they establish bond.
Alternative Punishments in the State of Missouri
Interviewer: As a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer, you've seen many cases end with improved outcomes. What are the alternative punishments to jail that someone may qualify or that you can get them into?
Kevin Roach: There are several alternate options to being incarcerated. One that you are seeing more and more of in the past few years is house arrest. I see that a lot. Especially with people that can't post bond. The court has been lenient for house arrest. With the technology these days it is easier for them to be monitored and give the court assurances that they are being monitored correctly. I guess due to changes in technology that it is something that you are seeing more and more of. It is a good alternative to actually being incarcerated. Even if you are confined to your house or going to and from your place of appointment it is definitely a better option than being incarcerated. Another option to jail time that you commonly see is probation. If the court suspends the imposition of sentence and they place you on probation. That is very common situation you see. It is almost always an option unless someone's got a bunch of prior offensives there is usually a probation option. Those are probably, let me think, yeah, those are probably two of the bigger options that I see to actually being incarcerated.
Kevin J. roach is a St. Louis criminal defense lawyer who has defended thousands of DWI and DUI cases in the St. Louis Metro area. Call us today at (636) 519-0085 or (866) 519-0085 for your Free Consultation!