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An indictment, or charge, is the official means by which a person is charged with a felony. It is a formal written document issued by a grand jury after it hears evidence regarding the facts of the alleged crime. After an indictment is returned, a warrant for arrest is issued and the person accused of the crime is taken into custody.

The indictment must meet certain requirements or it will be found by the courts to be defective and will then be dismissed. The indictment must state the accused's name, set out the facts of the criminal act and the specific elements present that resulted in a violation of the law. Special language and written formats may also be required.