24/7 call for a free consultation 212-300-5196




When you’re facing a federal issue, you need an attorney whose going to be available 24/7 to help you get the results and outcome you need. The value of working with the Spodek Law Group is that we treat each and every client like a member of our family.

When You Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Grand Jury Subpoena

When You Need a Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer for a Grand Jury Subpoena

Receiving a grand jury subpoena can be an intimidating and stressful experience. As a layperson, you may not understand the scope of the investigation, your rights and responsibilities, or the potential consequences. Having an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer guide you through the process can make all the difference. This article provides an overview of federal grand juries and explains when it is essential to retain legal counsel after receiving a subpoena.

What is a Federal 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 it is sufficient to indict a person for a federal crime. Grand juries operate in secrecy, so details of investigations are not made public unless and until criminal charges are filed.

Federal grand juries have very broad investigative authority. They can issue subpoenas demanding documents, physical evidence, and witness testimony. If you receive a subpoena, you are legally required to comply. The role of the grand jury is only to determine probable cause – not guilt or innocence.

Why Would I Receive a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena?

There are a few reasons you might receive a subpoena from a federal grand jury:

  • You are the target of an investigation into potential federal crimes
  • You are considered a subject in a federal criminal investigation
  • You are a witness who possesses information relevant to an ongoing federal investigation

Regardless of why you received a subpoena, it means federal prosecutors believe you have information that could assist a criminal investigation.

Responding to a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

The first step after receiving a federal grand jury subpoena is do not ignore it. You must respond, but how you respond matters greatly. The risks of responding inappropriately include:

  • Disclosing potentially self-incriminating information
  • Waiving attorney-client privilege
  • Obstructing justice by providing false information

The stakes are high, so seeking experienced legal counsel is critical. An attorney can help you:

  • Understand the scope of the investigation
  • Assert your constitutional rights
  • Avoid self-incrimination
  • Prepare your testimony

In some cases, it may be strategic to assert your 5th Amendment rights or work to quash the subpoena if it is unreasonable or oppressive. Your lawyer can advise you on the best approach.

Why You Need an Experienced Federal Criminal Defense Lawyer

Responding to a federal grand jury subpoena triggers the need for expert legal representation for several reasons:

Grand Jury Proceedings Are Complex

Federal grand jury procedures and rules of evidence are complex for non-lawyers to navigate. Without guidance, you may not even realize when you are self-incriminating or violating your rights. A skilled federal criminal defense lawyer thoroughly understands these rules and processes.

High Risk of Criminal Charges

Being subpoenaed means you are part of an ongoing federal criminal investigation. There is a real possibility prosecutors may use your testimony to indict you on federal criminal charges. Your freedom and livelihood are on the line. An experienced attorney can guide you to avoid making missteps.

Gain Insight on the Investigation

Your attorney can often glean helpful information about the investigation from interacting with federal prosecutors. They can then better prepare you to testify while protecting your rights. This insight is invaluable in mounting an informed defense strategy.

Preserve Attorney-Client Privilege

Responding to a subpoena risks accidentally waiving attorney-client privilege. This means any past conversations you had with lawyers could be fair game to federal prosecutors. Your lawyer will take careful steps to avoid privilege waiver.

Coordinate a Defense Strategy

If you do end up facing criminal charges, the grand jury testimony will be a key part of the prosecution’s case. Your lawyer can shape your testimony to lay the groundwork for arguments against indictment or for defeating charges at trial.


Receiving a federal grand jury subpoena means your freedom and livelihood are at stake. These proceedings are deliberately opaque, making it impossible to discern why you were subpoenaed or predict consequences. Therefore, engaging an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer is imperative to protect your rights. They will help you safely navigate the complexities to achieve the most favorable outcome possible. Don’t go it alone.

Schedule Your Consultation Now