Federal Grand Jury Representation Lawyer
Federal Investigations By FBI, DEA, IRS
Federal grand juries have a lot of power in the criminal justice system. How you respond to a federal grand jury subpoena for your testimony or documents is an absolutely critical part of the federal criminal court process.
A federal grand jury contains up to 23 members, but only 16 have to be present. An indictment is returned from a vote of 12 or more of the members. A federal grand jury will normally serve a term of 18 months and they hold regular meetings. While a federal judge will empanel and supervise a federal grand jury, they don't typically interfere with their investigations.
Criminal Investigations by a Federal Grand Jury
The federal prosecutor, which is commonly known as the Assistant United States Attorney, is the main government party who will have interactions with the federal grand jury. They will lead the grand jury sessions, but are not present during grand jury deliberations. It should be noted that a federal grand jury will normally always return an indictment that has been brought by a federal prosecutor.
While a federal grand jury is conducting a criminal investigation, they have broad discretion, other than violating constitutional privileges. Federal grand jury subpoenas are rarely quashed on insufficient grounds. Clearly, giving testimony or providing them documents related to their investigation is very risky. You should never take this type of risk without an experienced federal criminal defense lawyer on your side.
It should be noted your attorney can't be by your side in a federal grand jury room, but are allowed to be just outside the room. You have a legal right to consult with your lawyer after every question you are asked and can take all the time you need, but you are not allowed to disrupt the federal grand jury process. In most cases, you can even take notes during the session and share them with your lawyer at a later time.
Information that a Subpoena May Cover
A federal grand jury subpoena could cover testimony, documents, or both. The cover of a federal grand jury subpoena will normally reveal what type you are receiving. You will receive a subpoena as an individual or a custodian of records.
If subpoenaed as an individual to provide testimony, you can avoid answering their questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment's privilege against self-incrimination. This should be used in a situation where a truthful answer to a grand jury question might incriminate yourself. This should be discussed with your attorney in advance. Even in cases where you are factually innocent, you have the right to invoke the privilege. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that this privilege protects the innocent as well as the guilty.
Corporations and businesses can't invoke this privilege against self-incrimination. They have to designate a custodian of records when subpoenaed by the federal grand jury. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that custodian of records for a business only has to answer a limited category of questions that are related on how the subpoenaed documents were gathered.
If you have received a subpoena as a business custodian, you have to be careful to only limit your answers to this narrow category. A federal prosecutor will typically ask a lot of questions that might seem harmless, but are actually very risky to answer. You should have your attorney outside the grand jury room to make sure you are not put in a situation of answering the wrong questions.
There are some federal prosecutors who will call a witness back to the grand jury to testify on several occasions. This is risky too as you might give inconsistent testimony under oath. You can be prosecuted for testifying contradictory statements under oath. If called back a second time, your federal defense lawyer has the right to review the transcripts of the first testimony. This can refresh your memory on earlier testimony and prepare you for the upcoming testimony.
Retain a Federal Indictment Defense Lawyer
As experienced federal criminal defense attorneys, not only do we represent clients during investigations and trials, but we also represent them during grand jury proceedings.
Before federal felony charges can be filed against a person, the prosecutors must take the case in front of a grand jury who will determine whether or not there is enough evidence to charge you. During a grand jury proceeding, written defense arguments and evidence will be presented, so it is very important to have a qualified legal representative during this time.
Your criminal lawyer will try very hard to present pertinent information that will result in a dismissal and can bring up any evidence that might help your case at this point.
If you have received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, whether it's as a witness or a target of indictment, a lawyer from our Los Angeles firm is ready to provide you with the representation you will need during this time. In order to be as effective as possible, your lawyer will need to have a thorough understanding of legal motions, as well as constitutional points of law relating to evidence.
The grand jury proceeding can be influential to the future direction of your case and can mean the difference between a case dismissal and a trial, so it is imperative that you have a skilled and aggressive lawyer behind you during this time.
Regardless of the federal offense behind your grand jury indictment, an attorney from our firm can help you. Our lawyers have the experience necessary to provide you with superior, quality representation you will need during a grand jury proceeding. Contact our law firm at 877-781-1570.