Articles of Impeachment are the documented written statement of charges relied upon as the basis for removing an individual from office.
Articles of Impeachment are issued during an impeachment. This document consists of a single instrument issued from the appropriate legislative body detailing the specific charges and offenses for which an official was impeached. Articles of Impeachment are the constitutional equivalent of an indictment, which are used in common criminal cases. However, Articles of Impeachment do not necessarily follow the strict form of an indictment.
The allegations listed in the Articles of Impeachment can be quite general but do contain enough certainty so as to enable the accused to bring themselves the proper defense, or in the case of an acquittal, to allow the accused to either avail themselves of it. Additional articles of impeachment may be presented at any stage of the ongoing impeachment.
The accused party usually responds to the answer to articles of impeachment through arguments and facts it is expected to answer each article of the accusation.
In the federal government, when the House Judiciary Committee finds reasons for impeachment, it sets forth specific allegations of misconduct in the Articles of Impeachment and then reports the Articles of Impeachment to the full House of Representatives with the House Judiciary Committee's recommendations. The House then debates the allegations in the Articles of Impeachment and may consider the Articles of Impeachment in its entirety or vote on each article of impeachment individually.
[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]