Written and edited by our team of expert legal content writers and reviewed and approved by Attorney Mark O’Mara
Content last updated on: April 14, 2023
A grand jury is a group of people brought together to determine whether to bring criminal charges or an indictment against a potential defendant. Grand juries are very different than any other court proceeding. Although a defense lawyer cannot be present in the courtroom, an experienced criminal defense attorney can still help you through the grand jury process and protect your interests. The O’Mara Law Group has been recognized as having some of the top criminal defense attorneys in the nation and our Orlando grand jury proceedings lawyers are prepared to protect your rights.
What is a Grand Jury Proceeding?
Grand jury proceedings are typically reserved for the most serious potential crimes and are run very different than a normal court proceeding or trial. A judge is not present, nor is the defense. A prosecutor explains the law to the grand jury and presents evidence in addition to calling witnesses to testify. A prosecutor may subpoena a witness to testify in front of a grand jury because the witness is a potential target, and anything said on the record can be used as evidence in a later proceeding. The grand jury has broad discretion to request and hear a wide range of evidence before rendering a decision about whether charges should be filed for the crime. Unlike criminal trials that require a unanimous verdict from a jury, a grand jury indictment only requires a quorum decision from the group.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
Although defense attorneys are not allowed inside the courtroom during a grand jury proceeding, a lawyer can still help in many ways if you are called as a witness. A defense attorney can speak to the prosecutor to determine whether you are being called to testify as a true witness or target of an investigation. A lawyer can also negotiate immunity from prosecution in exchange for your testimony if it would violate your Fifth Amendment protections. Immunity can prevent your testimony from being used against you in a future investigation or can grant you protection from any indictment connected to the proceedings depending on the information provided.
When called to testify, the lawyer is not allowed to come into the courtroom because grand jury proceedings are closed. However, your lawyer is allowed to wait in the hallway, and you can leave to consult with your attorney whenever you need to during your testimony. If necessary, you can leave the courtroom to consult with your lawyer after every question, and your attorney can advise you as to whether to answer or invoke your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. You are allowed to invoke your Fifth Amendment rights even if your testimony would even tend to incriminate you and not do so directly.
Our Orlando Grand Jury Proceedings Lawyers Can Help
The O’Mara Law Group prides itself on helping good people through difficult situations, including if you are called to testify in front of a grand jury proceeding. Call the office or contact us today at our Orlando office to schedule a consultation about your grand jury subpoena and what to expect throughout the process.
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