Some criminal charges go through the grand jury. Some criminal charges go through a trial jury. Some criminal charges will go through both. While both a grand jury and a trial jury are part of the criminal justice system, they serve very different purposes.
The grand jury is the first jury that might hear a case in a criminal proceeding. This is a jury that listens to the evidence and decides whether charges should be levied in the case or not. Prosecutors have the option to accept the recommendation of the grand jury, but they don’t have to. This means that if the grand jury’s verdict is that a person shouldn’t face charges, the prosecution can still charge the person. The opposite is also true.
A person who has had charged levied against him or her might have to stand trial in front of a trial jury. This is the jury of your peers that listens to the evidence in the case and then decides if a person is guilty or not guilty of the criminal charges.
Another difference between grand juries and trial juries is that grand juries are much larger. A grand jury usually has 23 members on it, while a trial jury usually has only 6 to 12 people on it. The grand jury members can hear multiple cases over months of service. The trial jury members usually only hear one case, regardless of how long the case takes.
This is only one aspect of the criminal justice system that you need to know about if you are facing any charges, including drug charges. Other aspects of the system, such as what happens in trial, are also equally as important.
Source: FindLaw, “What’s the Difference Between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?,” accessed June 06, 2017