Defense Attorney for Grand Jury Appearances in Criminal Cases

brown wooden jury chairs

What is a Grand Jury?
A grand jury is an independent body that plays a vital role in the criminal process. It may consist of anywhere from 16 to 23 grand jurors who have been called to fulfill their jury service, similar to a regular court trial jury.

A grand jury proceeding is much more relaxed than regular courtroom proceedings. There is no judge and lawyers present, except for the prosecutor. The latter will explain the law to the jury and work with them to review evidence and hear testimony before deciding whether there is enough reason to bring criminal charges or indictments against a defendant. 

Members of a grand jury may not divulge any information about the proceeding. Everything that happens within the room must remain strictly confidential so that witnesses are encouraged to speak freely. This is also to protect a grand jury target’s reputation in case he or she is not indicted. 

If the grand jury decides that there is probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime, that person will most likely be charged with a federal criminal offense and asked to appear in court. A supermajority of 2/3 or 3/4 is needed for a criminal indictment (this may vary depending on the jurisdiction). 

How to Prepare for a Grand Jury Proceeding

The subjects or targets of grand jury investigations have no right to present evidence to the grand jury because the grand jury is an inquisitorial as opposed to an accusatorial forum. Simply, in a grand jury, there are no charges against which to defend. The grand jury’s function is to view the facts and determine whether to bring charges. 

If you have been called to appear before a grand jury, in most jurisdictions, you cannot bring a lawyer with you into the grand jury room. However, you have the right to consult a criminal defense lawyer even if you have to step out of the grand jury room to do so. You also have the right to seek legal advice before your grand jury appearance. It is highly recommended that you do so, as any grand jury appearance can result in perjury charges or statements made that can be used against you should the grand jury ultimately indict you.

Unless the government grants a grand jury witness immunity or the jurisdiction’s law automatically confers immunity to grand jury witnesses, all witnesses may exercise the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.

What Are My Options if I Have Been Subpoenaed to Testify Before the Grand Jury?

A lawyer will evaluate your situation and guide you on what you can do to minimize undesirable consequences. Sometimes, your attorney may even be able to negotiate immunity in exchange for your testimony. 

Do I Need an Attorney for a Grand Jury Subpoena?

Although a grand jury appearance is more casual than a regular court appearance, getting the services of a defense lawyer who understands criminal law and knows the parameters and nuances of grand jury practice can help you navigate your response to a grand jury subpoena. Working with an attorney will help you prepare to appear before the grand jury and ensure you achieve the most favorable result possible.  A legal counsel will work with you before your appearance to make sure you are ready to answer the questions you will most likely be asked. 

How the Serafini Law Office Can Help

Failure to prepare for a grand jury appearance may result in a wrongful charge, which can result in wasted time, additional expenses, and a tainted reputation. Additionally, such failure may make defending against an indictment at trial more difficult.

Mr. Richard A. Serafini of the Serafini Law Office has been practicing law for 40 years. With vast experience in handling criminal cases, Mr. Serafini will help prepare you to testify before a grand jury. He will also assist you in preparing for your testimony and help you fight any criminal charges to the best of his abilities. Mr. Serafini will guide you through every stage of your encounter with law enforcement and build a solid basis to bring you the best result achievable. 

Our law firm currently offers a range of legal services to the following cities and states: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York. 

Contact us at (754) 223-4718 for a free consultation so you can learn more about your legal rights.