A pre-indictment hearing is when the suspect or witness of a crime is called to testify in front of a grand jury. During a pre-indictment hearing, the individual is not allowed to have defense council present and must answer the questions of the prosecuting attorney.
However, individuals testifying at a pre-indictment hearing are allowed to have an attorney present in the building, and have the right to ask to leave the hearing area in order to consult with council. This can be done in order to determine if a specific question should be answered, or to consult on how to answer a specific question. The result of the pre-indictment hearing will determine whether an individual is charged with a crime.
Pre-indictment hearings are not always considered public, as the hearings can be held in secret. Witnesses and members of a grand jury can also be instructed not to tell anyone about their involvement or that a grand jury has been called. In addition, a suspect may be called to testify in a pre-indictment hearing without being told that he is a suspect. Telling the individual that he is a suspect is allowed by law, but it is not a requirement of a pre-indictment hearing.