New Jersey Grand Jury Charge
In addition to reading this post, please watch this video from the New Jersey Judiciary about the Grand Jury Indictment.
Constitutional Right To Grand Jury Indictment
The New Jersey Constitution prohibits the government from filing criminal charges in Superior Court without approval of the Grand Jury. Therefore, this means requiring the government’s executive branch authorities to file a grand jury indictment is an individual right. This does not apply, however, to Disorderly Persons Offenses filed against individuals by police in municipal courts across the state.
The N.J. Constitution provides, in pertinent part,
“No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury…” N.J. Const. art. 1, ¶ 8.
“In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right . . . to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation…” N.J. Const. art. 1, ¶ 10.
What does the right to Grand Jury Indictment mean?
The indictment gives notice of pending criminal charges to the defendant. Additionally, under New Jersey law, notice of a crime provides satisfactory notice for lesser included offenses, too.
In order to provide adequate notice to the accused, the indictment must:
- inform the defendant of the offense charged against him, so that he may adequately prepare his defense;
- be specific enough to allow the defendant to avoid later prosecution for the same offense; and
- be specific enough to prevent the trial jury from convicting the defendant of an offense the grand jury did not consider or charge.
These requirements safeguard freedom for all individuals. Indeed, no man should be brought to trial for a crime unless a grand jury has first found a sufficient basis for the charge.
NJ Trial Advocate Michael A. Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations on all cases whether the State plans to file or already has filed an indictment against you. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.