Criminal Charges, Indictments, & Complaints

Facing criminal charges is a harrowing experience, particularly for someone who has never faced an indictment or information charging a crime. From being charged and arrested through the conclusion of a case, the criminal justice system can be complex and crush the spirit. You need an advocate, someone who can fight for your rights, explain the law and your options, and when it comes time to fight in court, an aggressive dedicated defense. Lubell Rosen attorneys are experienced trial lawyers with the knowledge and ability to fight criminal charges in state or federal court. We aggressively defend our clients by researching the facts, allegations and the law to attack the charges head on and level the playing field.

Complaints and Informations

The State of Florida generally uses what is called an Information to charge people with crimes. When police arrest an individual, they can do so on the basis of a criminal complaint drafted by the police or state agents after the arrest. That complaint is an initial charge, not a formal charge but is sworn to by the officer and generally contains the details of the alleged facts and circumstances of the offense in order to establish probable cause before a judge. In other instances involving longer term investigations, agents or police generate arrest affidavits containing the details and facts and present those to a prosecutor for the prosecutor to obtain an arrest warrant from the Court. Complaints are forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office to be reviewed by Assistant State Attorneys who decide whether to bring formal charges. An Information is a formal charging document that is drafted by a State Attorney’s Office. Informations are rarely detailed documents and generally state the crime charged and the date and location without much more. Once an Information is filed a Defendant is arraigned on those charges and the formal discovery process where attorneys are provided evidence and are permitted to take depositions in preparation for a trial. Florida’s discovery rules are very broad and require prosecutors to provide all pertinent information and permit attorneys a number of avenues to research the facts of a case to defend their clients.

Indictments

Federal agents can also make arrests on criminal complaints but most often federal prosecutors use Indictments to formally charge criminal defendants. An Indictment is a formal charging document drafted by Assistant United States Attorneys and voted on by a Grand Jury. Grand Jury proceedings are closed to the public and defendants are not generally informed of the proceeding. Indictments generally contain more detailed facts than Informations. Once a Defendant is arraigned on the charges in an Indictment, the discovery process begins. The timing of federal discovery is not as broad and open as those in state court proceedings and defense attorneys are not permitted to take depositions in federal court criminal cases..