There are few things as jarring as receiving a grand jury subpoena. Because these are relatively uncommon, you may not know how to proceed. However, it is critical to take action, as these can drastically change your life. If you’re unsure what these subpoenas are or how to proceed, you’ll need to keep reading. It’s also in your best interest to contact a Cobb County criminal defense lawyer to help you navigate this serious issue.
What Is a Grand Jury Subpoena?
A grand jury is not like a traditional jury. These men and women hear the details of an investigation to determine if the prosecution has enough evidence to charge someone with a crime, also known as an indictment. As such, you are not placed under arrest or convicted until you have gone through a criminal trial.
When you receive a subpoena for a grand jury, it’s essential to understand how to proceed. There are two kinds of subpoenas one may receive for a grand jury. The first is to produce evidence relevant to the case, such as documents, financial records, photos, or other objects. The other kind is for testimony. This means you will need to answer questions and provide information, as the prosecution believes you have knowledge relevant to criminal activity.
Unfortunately, there is much uncertainty surrounding these instances. This is due to the fact that the subpoena does not specify why the grand jury wants to hear your testimony. Generally, you can be one of three entities to an investigation – a witness, subject, or target. If you are a witness, the prosecution believes you had no involvement in the criminal activity they are investigating, other than witnessing it. As a subject, you may or may not be involved, but you have information that can help the investigation. If you are a target, it means the prosecution has reason to believe you have committed a criminal offense.
If I Receive One, What Should I Do?
Should you receive a subpoena, it’s critical to take immediate action. The first thing you must do is contact an experienced attorney. Because these do not specify why the grand jury needs your testimony, there is no way of knowing whether you are a witness, subject, or target. As such, you need legal representation.
Your attorney can communicate with the prosecution to get more information about your status in the case. This can help you better prepare for your testimony.
It is essential to note that unless you and your attorney prove there is no valid, legal reason for you to be subpoenaed, you must comply with these orders. If you do not show up or lie while giving testimony, you can be charged with a criminal offense. Similarly, destroying evidence is considered an obstruction of justice.
At the Miller Law Practice, we understand how unnerving a grand jury subpoena can be. As such, we are dedicated to helping you navigate this challenging time. Contact us today to learn how our dedicated legal team can help advise you during these circumstances.