Individuals who have been caught up in a federal investigation are sometimes called to testify in front of a federal grand jury. The federal grand jury can be an imposing group. They may be situated at a large courthouse and in front of a seasoned prosecutor asking difficult questions. Many individuals do not want to subject themselves to this experience if they can help it. With one grand exception, the vast majority of individuals called to testify in front of a federal grand jury will have to do so if they want to keep themselves out of jail.
Grand jury requirements
A grand jury is impaneled in order to deliver an indictment. This jury derives its name simply from the fact that it is larger than other juries.It is not a required aspect of every trial. There are a large number of trials where a judge simply looks at evidence, allows charges, and sets a trial date. Grand juries are used for more serious cases where there is a large-scale investigation that may look at large amounts of evidence and then allow the grand jury to decide who to indict on what charges.
The indictment is the first step in holding a trial and eventually determining guilt or innocence. A grand jury is impaneled to look at the evidence presented by a prosecutor and decide whether or not there is a basic level of evidence to file charges. The grand jury does not decide an individual’s fate directly like a trial jury (or petit jury) does. But this difference does not mean that a grand jury should not be taken as seriously as a trial jury.
A grand jury is still an instrument of the justice system that has to be respected by any individual called before one. The pronouncements of a grand jury are viewed just like any other judicial body. An individual has to take an oath and plead to tell the truth. If they do not tell the truth or fail to testify in most instances, they can face additional charges and may even be sentenced to jail time. These charges would be the same as those levied on an individual who lied to the FBI.
Therefore, individuals need to take hearings in front of a grand jury seriously. They need to find counsel and prepare for days or even weeks ahead of their appointments to make sure they know exactly what they are going to say. There is a chance that an individual who provides truthful testimony may be completely ignored by the grand jury afterwards. But a blatant lie could lead to the grand jury turning its attention to every aspect of an individual’s potential criminal liability.
Pleading the Fifth
The only way that most individuals can legally get out of testifying in front of a grand jury is by pleading the Fifth Amendment. Through this action, the individual is invoking their right against self-incrimination. They are arguing that testimony they may give might implicate them in a crime and harm their defense. Invoking the Fifth Amendment and declining to testify only applies to a certain number of scenarios.
An individual must take the Fifth in general in front of a grand jury. They cannot selectively pick and choose the answers that they want to give. In addition, their rights do not apply if they are granted immunity in exchange for their testimony. Immunity means that an individual cannot possibly incriminate themselves in that situation if they answer truthfully and are forced to give truthful testimony.
Any individual who has to talk to a federal grand jury should seek a lawyer immediately. The lawyer will provide them with the best strategy for their testimony. Mistakes could result in perjury charges or a federal investigation for other crimes. The best step to take with a federal grand jury, if one does not plan on invoking the Fifth Amendment, is to simply talk to the grand jury and tell the truth.
There are many different types of courts and other legal venues in the United States. A legal case can be heard by a judge or a jury. While many people know about a standard jury typically composed of twelve people, they may have heard of another type of jury. This is what is known as a grand jury. The grand jury serves an important function in the American justice system. It acts a break against possible abuse of federal power. Those who wish to bring certain serious charges in certain states must present the case they have against the person in this form of court hearing. Unlike a standard jury in which only a dozen people may hear the information and make sense of it, a grand jury might be composed of anywhere from sixteen to as many as twenty-three people at a time. Unlike other procedures, this one is heard behind closed doors away from the eyes of the public.
Facing a Grand Jury
If you are facing the possibility of a grand jury hearing, you’ll be notified via a subpoena. This will let you know when the hearing is happening. While it might be temping to go it alone, it’s probably best to have at least some backup. You want to make sure that your rights are protected during this process and you’re not left out in the cold worried you might have put your life in danger. In general, there are three specific ways that a lawyer can offer you help during this time. The lawyer can offer the kind of support you need to get through this process without completely panicking and doing something wrong. They can answer your questions and help you fully understand what is going on when the process starts as well as as it continues.
The first thing the lawyer can help you with is what sort of things the grand jury will cover. You might be asked a lot of questions. The lawyer can help you figure out what sort of questions you’ll likely face thus giving you more time to prepare for them. You might be asked for documents. Here, again the lawyer can help you. They can examine any documents you have and help you decide what will sort of issues the investigator is likely to raise as a result of this investigation.
Another and equally important thing that a lawyer can help you with is helping you figure out the bigger picture. An investigation may include many people at the same time, all of whom may be facing issues of their own during the grand jury process. You might have a general ideal of what’s going on. However, there are many issues that may impact what’s going on around you that are often highly confusing. It can be hard to figure out what the prosecutor is getting at or where they’re going with the investigation. The lawyer can help you determine what’s going on with others in the investigation and how that might impact your role going forward.
The lawyer can also help with gathering all documents you’ll need as well as preparing any case. They can help you stay organized. Confronting a grand jury is a highly stressful moment. The jury process can take a long time. You might be there for hours, getting more worried as it goes on. You’ll hear the prosecutor speaking and see the jurors in person. As you do so, it can be hard to stay focused on this process and make sure that you’re not making any kind of mistakes that might later have grave consequences on your life. The lawyer can have your back as the process continues. They are there to make sure that you are complying with the demands of the grand jury with all appropriate speed. They will also help you understand what is likely to happen during the process as the day continues. This can help you get through this time and avoid feelings that might make unable to focus on your own interests. The right legal counsel is your best course of action at this time in your life.
What Happens in a Federal Grand Jury?
You are likely seeking more information about your situation if you are under investigation for a federal criminal case. Learning about the process is a wise step to take as it will help you make decisions that may have a life-long impact. When you partner with our legal defense firm, you gain a great source of information. Our licensed defense lawyers have extensive experience working in federal law and are committed to explaining every step of your case to you. We believe in empowering you to make wise decisions, putting control of your future back in your hands. We will take the time to explain terms and processes to you to alleviate any confusion you may have. Get in touch with our legal team today if you want to learn more about how we can help you in your federal criminal case.
What Is a Grand Jury?
With 16-23 members, a grand jury is similar to a regular court trial jury. The grand jury works together with the prosecutor and is responsible for deciding whether to bring criminal charges against a potential defendant. If you are facing federal charges, you may appear before a grand jury. If a grand jury is used in your criminal case, it will be one of the first procedures in your criminal trial. Reach out to our defense team as soon as possible if you have faced a grand jury and were charged with a crime. The more time we have to develop your strategic defense, the better chance you have at reaching a favorable result.
Grand Jury Proceedings
Unlike a trial, the grand jury proceedings often do not involve attorneys and are kept in strict confidence. This was designed to protect the potential defendant’s reputation, just in case the jury decided not to indict them. This confidentiality also frees witnesses to speak openly, without any fear of potential ramifications. The grand jury will start with the prosecutor explaining the law to the jury members. Afterward, they will work together to gather evidence and hear testimony. There are still strict guidelines that evidence submitted must conform to while the process is rather casual. The grand jury must come to a decision about whether or not to indict the accused after they have examined the evidence. The jury’s decision does not have to be unanimous, but a 2/3 or 3/4 majority is required. The prosecutor may still choose to bring the potential defendant to trial if the jury decides that there is not enough evidence to indict. The prosecutor will have to work to convince the judge that there is substantial evidence. If the prosecutor succeeds, there will be a formal trial. Contact our legal defense team immediately if your case is being heard by a grand jury. We can start working on methods to protect you from an unjust decision and will fight to keep you out of court. We have extensive experience working in criminal defense and are ready to put our knowledge to work in your case.
Remember, it is never too early to contact a lawyer if you are involved in a federal criminal case. Facing serious repercussions, such as large fines and jail time, could have a negative impact on your future, and we are here to give you the best defense possible. As soon as you get in touch with our defense team, you will have some of the brightest minds in criminal law working on a defense strategy for you. Our renowned reputation and proven results showcase our skill and immense knowledge, making it easier for you to trust our legal team with your future. As a recognized defense firm, we are dedicated to doing everything in our power to protect your legal rights and seek to earn you the best available outcome. With us, every step of the process will be explained thoroughly so it would be easier for you to navigate the confusion that often surrounds federal criminal cases.
While lawyers are at times not involved in this process, it could be the difference between beating the accusations and heading to trial. Secure our legal services now! Call our toll free number or send us a message online to get started.
If you have been charged with a crime and would like to protect yourself and your future, learn as much as you can about each step in the process. Prosecutors take some cases to a grand jury before moving forward to trial, and the outcome of the grand jury will play a role in how your case unfolds.
Taking a look at grand juries and how they work is how you decide what to expect as you move forward. You will also learn the importance of having a criminal defense lawyer by your side even if you are not yet facing criminal charges. What you uncover in this guide arms you with the required information to make the right choice for your situation.
Grand Jury Overview
A grand jury consists of between 12 and 24 people who listen to cases and decide if enough evidence exists to hold a trial. During a grand jury, the prosecutor brings evidence and argues why the court should place the defendant on trial before a judge and jury.
While a standard jury must believe beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty, a grand jury only has to be more sure than not that a crime took place. A grand jury returns a true bill when they believe the defendant more likely than not committed the crime, and they return a no bill when they don’t. If the grand jury returns a true bill, the prosecutor has the green light to move to trial.
Preliminary Hearing Versus a Grand Jury
At a preliminary hearing, the prosecutor and the defendant go in front of a judge and discuss the facts of the case. The prosecutor still brings evidence and witnesses, but the defense can contest points and make objections when needed. Most prosecutors try bypassing the preliminary hearing and opt for a grand jury instead because grand juries don’t allow the defendant to be present. Also, no judge is at the grand jury to ensure that the prosecutor follows the rules of evidence.
Understanding Your Rights
This section helps you understand what rights you have when facing a grand jury indictment. As the defendant, you won’t even know about the grand jury unless they issue an inditement. That means you don’t have any right to know about the grand jury or to defend yourself when the prosecution presents their case to the members. The only good news is that a grand jury indictment does not mean you are convicted of a crime; it means you are going to face a trial.
Deciding What You Must Do Next
Knowing what to do when facing criminal charges is vital if you would like any hope of safeguarding your future. The most important thing is not to speak with anyone about your case and to enlist a defense attorney to stand in your corner and guide you in the right direction.
The Importance of Having a Lawyer on Your Side
If you have never faced criminal charges before, you might be shocked to learn that the prosecution will ignore your rights if you let them. They will try getting you to accept an unfair plea deal or surrender your rights, but you don’t have to fall into that trap if you enlist a caring and skilled criminal defense lawyer.
Your lawyer will uphold your rights and give you the best results possible. Having a lawyer on your side is the only smart way to move forward if you care about your freedom and future. Experienced defense attorneys know how the game is played and will look for mistakes and holes in the prosecutor’s case, improving your odds of getting a fair outcome.
Prosecutors prefer grand juries because grand juries allow them to ignore the rules of evidence and present cases without the person in question having the chance to contest it. The majority of cases that go to a grand jury end with an indictment, but that does not mean you will end up behind bars.
Speak with an experienced attorney to learn about your rights and what you can do to decrease your odds of spending time behind bars. Rather than waiting until another time, reach out to a lawyer the first chance you get so that you can begin building a solid defense.