What is a Grand Jury and what should I do if I am served with a Grand Jury Subpoena?

A Grand Jury, whether Federal or State, is a group of citizens summonsed to serve by the Prosecutor for the purpose of deciding what if any charges should be filed against a person or corporation. The right to Grand Jury consideration of proposed criminal charges before being indicted for a crime is Constitutionally based. The Grand Jury deliberates in secret. However, it is often called the “arm” of the prosecutor since it is the prosecutor who decides which case to investigate and what evidence to present.

As such, the Grand Jury can be a very dangerous place for the unprepared. and unrepresented The Grand Jury is frequently used for both charging and investigatory purposes by the United States Attorney in Maryland and the District of Columbia and more and more frequently for investigatory purposes by the State’s Attorney in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

Thus, if you receive a Grand Jury subpoena, it is very important to seek the advice of counsel before appearing and to have representation when you appear. Your testimony before the Grand Jury can and will be used against you. However, you have the right to remain silent if your testimony will be self incriminating. On the other hand, you may be entitled to and require immunity before testifying under certain circumstances. Having a lawyer by your side will protect you from making what can prove to be very costly mistakes.