Trying time  The trial information is the criminal lawsuit, or, indictment, against the defendant. It must be submitted by the duly elected or appointed county attorney of the jurisdiction and county where the offense allegedly occurred and approved by a judge with the jurisdiction to authorize it. 


It allows prosecution to proceed as if a jury trial will take place when the judge is convinced that the evidence contained in the information and minutes of evidence, if unexplained, would warrant conviction. The trial information is submitted and approved by the judge without a response from defense counsel. However, defendant must answer the trial information by way of arraignment, where he or she may plead guilty, not guilty, or previous conviction (double jeopardy).


If you or a loved one has been arrested in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Waterloo, or other Iowa community, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC  for a free initial consultation today at 319-389-1889. 

​​​Cedar Rapids Criminal Lawyer: Trial Informations and What You Should Know 

by David A. Cmelik Law PLC


The Trial Information, sometimes called an “indictment,” is the formal charging instrument and criminal lawsuit against the defendant. Indictments in Iowa are technically grand jury accusations but the rules of criminal procedure treat “informations” as if they were indictments.

Only the duly elected county attorney and his or her designees, as well as the Attorney General of the State of Iowa, upon request by the respective county attorney, may submit to the judge for approval an “information” alleging a crime in the State of Iowa. If the judge rejects the trial information, the prosecutor may seek a grand jury indictment.

For the prosecution to continue, the judge must find that “the evidence contained in the information and the minutes of evidence, if unexplained, would warrant a conviction by the trial jury” to  approve and promptly file the information.


The language applicable to indictments is more descriptive and defense oriented, stating "[a]n indictment should be found when all the evidence, taken together, is such as in the judgment of the grand jury, if unexplained, would warrant a conviction by the trial jury; otherwise it shall not."


Unfortunately, the filing of a trial information is ex parte, meaning that the prosecutor submits it to the judge for approval without notice to, or presence of, the defense and the judge reviews the minutes of testimony thereto attached to make his or her finding without an alternative viewpoint.

In this way, it has always struck me that the “if unexplained” part of the court’s deliberative process lacked a counterpoint. However, the two arguments in response to that are that the underlying standard of proof the judge must use to determine that a jury will be so convinced is proof beyond a reasonable doubt and that the defendant will have an opportunity at trial to present alternative theories, or, explanations of defense.

Once approved, the defendant is notified of its contents and must answer by way of arraignment. 


If you or a loved one has been arrested for a criminal offense in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or other Iowa community, contact David A. Cmelik Law PLC.

However, remember that a blog is not legal advice and that sending unsolicited information to a lawyer over the Internet does not establish an attorney-client relationship. 

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1450 Boyson Road Suite C-2A Hiawatha, Iowa 52233 319-389-1889

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