Grand Jury Proceedings
There are 12 jurors that serve on a grand jury. The prosecutor will present the charges to the grand jury and introduce just enough evidence to secure an indictment. The proceedings are secret and are usually held without the suspect’s knowledge or presence. When the grand jury determines that there is probable cause to charge the suspect, they return a “true bill.”
Sometimes, the prosecutor will call witnesses, or even the suspect, to testify before the grand jury. If you are called to testify at grand jury proceedings and believe that you are a possible target of the investigation, you have a right to remain silent and not answer incriminating statements. Also, if you are indicted by the grand jury, you are permitted to obtain the transcripts from the hearing to evaluate the evidence. This is part of the reason a prosecutor uses the minimum amount of evidence to secure an indictment.
What Happens After the Grand Jury’s Decision?
A grand jury does not need a unanimous decision to indict a person. However, it does need a supermajority of 2/3 or 3/4 agreement for an indictment, depending on the jurisdiction. If the grand jury chooses to indict, the trial most likely will begin faster.
If the grand jury does not choose to indict, the prosecutor still could bring the defendant to trial if he or she thinks there is a strong enough case against the person or group. The grand jury proceedings, however, often are used as a test run for prosecutors in making the decision to bring the case against a person.
If you have been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury and you believe that you may be held liable for any criminal act, it is extremely important to contact The Law Office of Jerry Michael Acosta by completing our online contact form or call at (713) 869-4000. for a consultation as soon as possible in order to protect your rights and to prevent your own indictment. It may be necessary to invoke your right under the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution not to testify.