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An Introduction to Grand Jury Subpoenas: What You Need to Know

An Introduction to Grand Jury Subpoenas: What You Need to Know

A grand jury subpoena is a powerful investigative tool used by the government to gather evidence and information about a potential federal crime. Receiving one can be intimidating and worrisome, so it’s important to understand what it means and how to respond properly. This article provides a simple introduction to grand jury subpoenas and what you need to know if you receive one.

What is a Grand Jury?

A federal grand jury is a group of 16 to 23 citizens who listen to evidence presented by federal prosecutors and decide whether there is probable cause to believe a crime has been committed and to charge a person with that crime. Unlike a trial jury, a grand jury does not determine guilt or innocence – its role is only to evaluate if there is enough evidence to justify bringing criminal charges against someone. Grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret without a judge present.

The Two Types of Grand Jury Subpoenas

There are two main types of grand jury subpoenas:

  • Subpoena ad testificandum – Requires you to appear and testify before the grand jury at a specific time and place.
  • Subpoena duces tecum – Requires you to produce documents, records, or other tangible evidence to the grand jury at a specific time and place.

Both types of subpoenas are official legal demands that you must comply with or face potential contempt of court charges.

If You Receive a Grand Jury Subpoena

Receiving a grand jury subpoena means prosecutors believe you may have evidence or information relevant to a federal criminal investigation. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Consult an attorney – Get legal advice immediately about your rights and obligations. An experienced federal criminal defense lawyer can help address the subpoena.
  • Carefully review the subpoena – Make sure you understand what specific testimony and/or documents are being requested. Note any deadlines.
  • Consider your status – Prosecutors may view you as a subject, target, or witness. This impacts your risks and legal strategy.
  • Prepare thoroughly – If testifying, understand the case and potential questions. Gather responsive documents neatly and logically.
  • Know your rights – You can assert your 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination if applicable. Other rights/privileges may also apply.
  • Do not ignore the subpoena – Failure to comply may lead to contempt of court charges. Even asserting 5th Amendment rights requires appearing before the grand jury.
  • Testifying truthfully is critical – Lying or obstructing the grand jury is a serious federal crime.
  • Maintain confidentiality – Grand jury proceedings are secret so do not disclose information about your testimony, documents produced, etc.

Potential Outcomes

After hearing all the evidence, the grand jury can take the following actions:

  • Return an indictment – If 12+ jurors vote to approve criminal charges, an indictment is issued. The case then moves forward to trial.
  • Return a no true bill – If fewer than 12 jurors vote for indictment, no charges are filed. However, prosecutors can present the case to another grand jury.
  • Ask for more information – The grand jury may request additional witnesses and evidence before deciding on an indictment.

Getting Legal Help

Being subpoenaed by a grand jury can be unsettling. Working with an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is highly recommended to protect your rights and interests throughout the process. Some key attorney services include:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
2024-03-21
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2024-03-18
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Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
2024-03-18
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
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Keisha Parris
2024-03-15
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Taïko Beauty
2024-03-15
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
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Anthony Williams
2024-03-12
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Loveth Okpedo
2024-03-12
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Bee L
2024-02-28
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divesh patel
2024-02-24
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • Reviewing the subpoena and assessing obligations
  • Filing motions to limit or quash the subpoena if appropriate
  • Preparing for testimony and/or document production
  • Accompanying you to the grand jury proceeding
  • Asserting privileges like the 5th Amendment on your behalf
  • Negotiating with prosecutors on your behalf
  • Guiding you on avoiding inadvertent missteps
  • Providing ongoing legal advice and representation if indicted

Don’t go it alone if a grand jury subpoena arrives. Consult a seasoned federal criminal defense lawyer right away for skilled guidance and advocacy. While the situation is serious, an attorney can help you navigate the process properly.

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