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When someone is indicted by a grand jury, like the grand jury featured on the previous pages, they can either plead not guilty and go to trial, or plead guilty to the charges in the indictment and give up their right to a trial. A trial jury is also known as a "petit jury."
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(The trial jury is known as the petit jury because at common law, a trial jury consisted of 12 jurors and was therefore smaller than the larger, "grand" jury that was composed of between 16 and 23 jurors. In the federal system, a grand jury still consists of 16-23 jurors, but most state grand juries are smaller.)

An indictment is used to bring charges for felonies, which are more serious crimes that carry at least the possibility of imprisonment for a conviction. Consequently, if someone goes to trial on the charges in an indictment and is convicted, or pleads guilty, they may find themselves chained to others who have been convicted of similar crimes and on their way to a state prison, where they will have to serve their sentence.


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