Like individuals, companies can be indicted if they violate criminal laws. So what happens when a corporation is criminally charged?
This has just happened to California's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric. The company is facing 12 federal criminal charges stemming from a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and leveled a suburban neighborhood. Prosecutors allege that the company didn't conduct required inspections that may have prevented the massive blast, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
So when a company like PG&E is criminally charged, what happens next? The answer will vary by case, but here are a few common questions and answers: