A grand jury is a group of citizens serving several-month terms to review the results of criminal investigations and solicit testimony in an effort to determine if there is sufficient evidence of the commission of a crime. If so, the grand jury issues an indictment, which starts the process of formal charges.
If you receive a subpoena to testify in front of the grand jury, there are things you should understand.
What is the nature of the subpoena?
Before your grand jury appearance, understand the nature of the subpoena. Are you considered a witness, a subject or a target in the investigation? A witness is someone believed to have relevant information about the case. A subject is someone suspected of involvement but without adequate proof. A target is an individual at the center of the investigation with evidence of their responsibility.
Your role will contribute to how you handle the request. Not only that, but you also need to know if you should provide any documents during your appearance, which should appear on the subpoena as well.
Do you need to secure immunity?
Depending on the target of the investigation, any testimony you might give could implicate you as well. Make sure you consider whether you need to negotiate immunity as part of your appearance or if you might need to plead the fifth during your testimony.
Grand jury investigations are significant and you must take a subpoena seriously. Prepare before your scheduled appearance so you can protect your interests while still honoring your legal obligation.