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Former Assistant District Attorney
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

The grand jury process

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2020 | Firm News

A federal grand jury consists of 16 to 23 individuals. Their job is to decide whether to hand down an indictment on federal criminal charges.

A grand jury is not concerned with questions of innocence or guilt. They only determine whether there is enough evidence to prove that a crime was likely committed. If you are under investigation by a grand jury, it is crucial that you speak with a skilled professional as soon as possible.

“No” or “true”

A federal prosecutor will make their case before the jury. The jury will hand down either a “no” bill or a “true” bill when deliberations have ended.

As you can probably guess, a “no” bill means no indictment. A “true” bill means you have been indicted. A minimum of 12 jurors must agree to the indictment.

Can I make my case before the grand jury?

A grand jury only hears evidence presented by the government. You do not have a right to attend a grand jury hearing or to submit your evidence. An indictment means you will be charged with a crime.

If you choose to go trial, you can tell your side of the story. This is your opportunity to call witnesses and to present evidence in your favor. You can also choose to strike a plea bargain if you decide not to offer your defense at trial. A skilled professional can help you understand all your available options.

Take matters one step at a time

Remember, a grand jury investigation does not automatically result in criminal charges. While it is frustrating not knowing what is going on behind closed doors, you can take proactive steps to protect and assert your rights. It is important to maintain your calm and to let the process run its course.