This is the process through which most felony cases must pass in order to take a felony case to trial.
Citizens of Alabama have a constitutional right to have any felony charges presented to the Grand Jury
A Grand Jury is randomly chosen pool of 18 qualified venire members
This is also a probable cause hearing
Typically, only the case agent presents evidence to the Grand Jury. However, any witnesses can be called to testify before the Grand Jury.
A defendant does not have a right to testify personally or present witnesses to a Grand Jury. He/She may request to appear and testify and, if the State allows such request, the defendant may not have counsel present during his/her testimony.
The Grand Jury may vote to True Bill or No Bill a case.
True Bill or Indictment:
If at least 12 Grand Jurors vote to indict a case, the case is true billed. This means that the case will proceed to Circuit Court.
An Indictment is the charging instrument through which a defendant may be tried.
The indictment is intended to notify the defendant of the charges against him/her so that he/she may adequately prepare to defend himself/herself against the charge.
If less than 12 Grand Jurors vote to indict a case, the case is no billed. This means that the case will not be further prosecuted.
However, if additional evidence is discovered at a later time that was not presented to the Grand Jury, the case may be presented to a new Grand Jury with the new evidence.