In felony cases brought in federal criminal court, there will be a grand jury proceeding before formal charges are filed and a person is arrested. The purpose of the grand jury proceeding is to determine if there is enough evidence to charge someone with a crime and what charges should be brought. The grand jury does not decide if a person, or a company, is actually guilty of a crime.
Preparing For A Grand Jury Appearance
Because no one is actually on trial, the subjects of a federal grand jury investigation have no right to make a presentation to the grand jury. If you've been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury, you cannot bring a lawyer with you into the grand jury room but you have the right to consult with an attorney even if you have to step out of the grand jury room to do so.
You do, however, have the right to seek legal advice before you appear before a grand jury. And it is extremely important that you do so. Any grand jury appearance can result in perjury charges or in statements being made that can later be used against you.
The State of Florida also utilizes grand juries for capital offenses and at times for high profile investigations and political investigations. A witness in a Florida state grand jury has the right to have an attorney present in the grand jury room for advice.
If you have been called to appear before a federal or state grand jury, you should know what you are facing and have an attorney to protect your rights. Contact a federal criminal defense lawyer at the Florida Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz.
Should You Appear in Court?
Even if you have been served a subpoena to appear in court, you do have options.
- You can refuse to testify
- You can provide information but refuse to testify in person
- You can be present as a witness at the grand jury proceeding
We will review your situation and advise you on what you can do to minimize any risk to yourself. In some situations, your lawyer may be able to negotiate immunity in exchange for your testimony.
Even if you are not the target of the investigation, it is still possible that you could unintentionally incriminate yourself by your testimony. You do not know whether the prosecutor has been advised of facts that are not true so you may face a perjury charge even though you testify truthfully. Get legal advice before you give any statements or make any appearances in court.
Contact Our Law Firm
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, ensuring a defense attorney responds quickly. Contact our Orlando, Florida law firm online or call (407) 401-7224 for criminal defense representation.