What Should You Do If You Receive a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena

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What Should You Do If You Receive a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena


The federal government uses the Grand Jury process to conduct investigations and seek an indictment. 

Receiving a subpoena can be stressful and scary.

Here is everything you need to know about responding to a federal Grand Jury subpoena. 

What is a subpoena? 

A subpoena holds significant authority granted by the courts, and it demands compliance.

It typically entails one of two obligations. First, you may be asked to present specific documents believed to possess evidential value in the ongoing investigation by court-appointed officials. 

You may also be required to appear in person and provide testimony on subject matter that is currently under scrutiny.

It is essential to heed a subpoena promptly upon receipt. Disregarding it is not an option. Failure to comply may result in being held in contempt of court, which is a crime in its own right and can carry serious consequences. The courts may, in fact, dispatch US Marshals to ensure your presence. 

What will a subpoena say?

When you receive a subpoena, it typically consists of a cover letter containing the contact information for the US Attorney handling your case and the subpoena itself. The subpoena will provide the following details.

  1. The issuing court’s name and address, which is where your presence may be required if you’re summoned in person.
  2. The “return date,” which indicates either the court appearance date or the deadline for submitting the requested evidence. 
  3. The list of the documents the Grand Jury is requesting from you.

In many cases, it’s appropriate to simply comply by appearing in court or submitting the requested documents. Receiving a subpoena does not always imply you’re being accused of a crime. In fact, professionals in various fields often receive subpoenas as a routine matter. For instance, bank records officers often receive subpoenas from federal law enforcement agencies seeking bank records during investigations into financial crimes. 

What should you do next?

Call a federal criminal attorney immediately if you are not a professional who routinely recipes subpoenas. It can be almost impossible to tell whether you’re being called a witness or a target, and witnesses can often become targets. An attorney can help you protect yourself. 

Resist the urge to contact the US Attorney or ask the agent who served you questions. It’s very easy to end up saying something incriminating. 

Your attorney can contact the US Attorney for you and get to the bottom of what’s happening. If your lawyer finds you are being implicated in criminal conduct, they may be able to issue a 5th Amendment challenge to the subpoena, which may protect you from having to submit documents or appear in front of the jury.

Every case is different, so make no assumptions. Instead, contact our team to get help today.

See also:

What Should You Do If Federal Agents Raid Your Home or Business?

What is a Target Letter?

The Definitive Guide for Those Charged With Federal Crimes in NYC

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