What do I do if I am served with a federal grand jury subpoena?
If you are served with a grand jury subpoena, the first issue is “What if anything do you say to the federal agent or the United States marshal who knocks on your door, asks your name, and then hands you a federal grand jury subpoena?” Politely say: “Thank you” and accept the subpoena. Firmly state that you want to retain a lawyer before saying anything. Anything you say will be noted and can later be used as evidence. So, no matter what you may have heard, do not say anything other than “thank you”, and then politely close your door. Do not invite the agent or marshal into your home. Do not allow anyone in your family to talk with the agent(s) or marshal(s). They did not serve you the subpoena to help you.
After the agent or marshal has left, immediately call the best federal criminal defense lawyer that you know. Make an appointment to see that criminal defense attorney as soon as possible noting the “return date” on the subpoena. The return date simply means the date you are required to appear as a witness before the federal grand jury. In some cases, the subpoena will excuse you from actually appearing if you provide the documents that they are seeking.
When a federal grand jury is investigating someone, that simply means that a federal prosecutor is conducting and controlling the grand jury by presenting witnesses and by suggesting to the grand jurors that they should vote to return an indictment against someone. Prosecutors routinely present evidence and witnesses to grand jurors before ultimately asking them to vote an indictment. Grand juries are known as “rubber stamps” for the prosecutors because the grand jurors will almost always vote for the indictment that the prosecutor is seeking.
There is no fairness in a federal grand jury. The grand jurors hear only what the prosecutor wants them to hear and, of course, what they hear is always prejudicial against the person soon to be indicted.
If you are served with a federal grand jury subpoena (almost always focusing on a felony or felonies), you may be served merely as a custodian of records of a company or a business association or, much more significantly, you may be wondered a “subject” or, even worse, a “target” of the grand jury. In each of those instances, you are well advised to retain an experienced federal criminal defense attorney to advise you.
Even if you are merely a custodian of records, you should have counsel advise you before responding to the subpoena. You may be advised to inform your employer or business associates of the existence of the subpoena even if the subpoena or letter accompanying the subpoena requests that you not tell anyone of its existence. But, we suggest that you speak with your federal criminal defense attorney before advising anyone about the subpoena. The prosecutor has no authority to prevent you from discussing the fact that you received a subpoena or the contents of the subpoena request. In certain circumstances where you feel that something has been going on which makes you uncomfortable, you should speak with your federal criminal defense attorney before you talk with other people about it. It is always advisable to speak with a competent federal criminal defense lawyer first. Criminal lawyers who do not practice in federal court or lawyers who do not specialize in criminal law are not well qualified to advise you in matters as sophisticated and treacherous as federal grand jury subpoenas.
Things look worse for you if you are served with a subpoena and advised in an accompanying letter from the prosecutor that you are a “subject” of the federal grand jury. Being a subject usually means that the government is close to making you a “target” of the investigationbecause the federal agents and prosecutor believe that you may have committed a crime or crimes and that they are seriously considering indicting you. The worst possible scenario is if you are advised that you are a “target” of the federal grand jury. If you are a target, in almost every instance, you can expect to be indicted and charged with a federal crime or crimes in a relatively short time.
If you are a subject or target of a federal grand jury, it is essential that you say nothing to anyone and immediately seek the advice and counsel of an experienced, respected criminal defense lawyer who regularly practices in the federal courts.
Our experienced criminal defense team is dedicated to providing the guidance and representation you need during these challenging times. Contact us today at (305) 985-6640 to learn more about how we can assist you.