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Frequently Asked Questions About Grand Jury Subpoenas

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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT GRAND JURY SUBPOENAS

If you have been served with a grand jury subpoena, this FAQ Sheet will give you an overview of what to expect.

WHAT IS A GRAND JURY?

A grand jury is a large jury, made up of 16-23 average citizens who were summoned for jury duty and selected to sit on the grand jury.

WHAT DOES A GRAND JURY DO?

The grand jury determines whether there is enough evidence against an individual to go forward with a criminal trial. (By contrast, a trial jury determines whether there is enough evidence to convict that individual). The grand jury is meant to be a check on prosecutorial power. Basically, the grand jury has to give its “okay” before the government can bring federal criminal charges against a person.

There are two types of grand juries. A charging grand jury reviews evidence in cases in which a suspect is in custody, but has not yet been charged with a crime. Typically, the grand jury will hear brief testimony from the arresting officer and then vote to indict (formally charge) the suspect.

An investigative grand jury, on the other hand, works more thoroughly and at a slower pace. These jurors investigate complex federal criminal cases, at the direction of the prosecutor. They typically will hear testimony from many witnesses, over a period of several months or years. When the investigation concludes, the prosecutor will summarize the testimony, explain the legal elements of the alleged crimes committed, and present the grand jurors with an indictment (formal charges) that he has drafted. The jurors are then left alone to vote on whether the evidence they have heard is sufficient to go to trial on those charges.

WHAT DOES A GRAND JURY SUBPOENA MEAN?

A grand jury subpoena signals that a federal criminal investigation is underway. The prosecutor believes you have information relevant to the investigation and has called you to testify – to answer questions and to provide information – before the grand jury.

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WHY DOES THE GRAND JURY WANT TO HEAR FROM ME?

The answer to this question depends on whether you have been subpoenaed as a target, a subject, or a witness.

A “target” is someone the prosecutor wants to indict. If you are a target of the investigation, then you are essentially a defendant who has not yet been charged.

A “witness” is someone who has information, but has no blame or involvement in the alleged crime and faces little risk of being indicted. For example, the teller who was held up in a bank robbery might be called before the grand jury as a witness.

A “subject” is someone whose status is uncertain. This person’s conduct falls “within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation,” but the prosecutor needs more information before deciding whether to seek charges against him. For example, the following individuals might be a “subject” in a grand jury investigation:

• The billing clerk in a doctor’s office, in a billing fraud investigation.
• The siblings, parents, children or significant others of bank robbers or drug traffickers who received and spent some of the ill-gotten gain.
• Whether a subject ultimately is deemed to be a target or a witness will depend on how deeply he was involved in the alleged criminal activity; the deliberateness of his involvement; the extent to which he profited from his involvement; and his level of cooperation with the grand jury’s investigation.

Prosecutors do not always neatly and precisely adhere to these three categories. Some prosecutors see only targets and witnesses. Others categorize almost everyone as a subject (until the day they seek an indictment). Moreover, your status may change as the investigation proceeds.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE GRAND JURY ROOM?

On the day of your testimony, you will go the grand jury room and wait outside, in an anteroom, to be called. Grand jury proceedings are private, so when it is your turn to testify, you will appear before the grand jury alone; your lawyer will not be allowed in the room with you.

You will sit or stand at a table in front of the jurors. A court reporter will be nearby to transcribe the proceedings. The federal prosecutor will place you under oath and advise you that if you do not tell the truth, you may be subject to criminal penalties for perjury. The prosecutor also will advise you that you can refuse to answer a question if the answer would tend to incriminate you, and that you will be allowed a reasonable opportunity to leave the room and consult with your attorney during the questioning. The prosecutor then will ask you questions about the case, seeking to elicit relevant evidence. When the prosecutor has finished, the jurors also may ask questions.

CAN I REFUSE TO APPEAR BEFORE THE GRAND JURY?

No. If you refuse to appear before the grand jury you will be held in contempt of court and jailed. A better alternative is to appear before the grand jury, assert your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, and refuse to answer questions that may incriminate you. Another option, depending on your situation, may be to appear and testify under a grant of immunity (protection from prosecution).

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“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

Experienced Phoenix DUI Attorney

Our mission is to help keep good people out of jail by balancing the criminal justice playing field so that each of our clients has a fighting chance to achieve realistic outcomes for their individual legal situations.

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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

Allen Hsu, Attorney

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. It has been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”

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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


J.S.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I hired Zachary after I found myself charged with a felony. He put me at ease right away and during the whole process he explained each step to where I understood everything and was always available for any questions I had. ”


S.N.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


Joshua Black, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


Josephine Hallam, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss and I worked in the same office, although we were at different law firms. He was eager to learn and developed a reputation for honesty and zealous advocacy.”


Kristopher Califano, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


Allen Hsu, Attorney