Q: What is a federal grand jury investigation? 

A federal grand jury is a  panel of ordinary citizens is selected to secretly investigate criminal activity generally and issue an indictment called a "grand jury original" that initiates the criminal justice process.  No judge, defendant or criminal defense attorney is present.  The U.S. Attorney (federal prosecutor) presents the case to the 16- to 23-person panel that is selected from the community, and a simple majority is all that is required for a federal grand jury indictment, which is prepared by the foreman and delivered to the Federal Magistrate (judge).  After a grand jury indictment, a warrant is subsequently issued for the defendant’s arrest, which starts the federal criminal process.

Grand jury proceedings are secret because: 

1- Anyone being investigated cannot interfer with witnesses or otherwise tamper with the investigation. 

2- Secrecy decreases the likelihood someone who is about to be indicted will escape before indictment. 

3- Reluctant witnesses can speak more freely when their remarks will not be made public nor reach the target of an investigation. 

4- Secrecy protects anyone who might be implicated, but who is not indicted. 

Q:  What is an arraignment? 

After your arrest on a felony or misdemeanor, you first appear in court for arraignment. During your arraignment, the court tells you the specific criminal charges being brought against you, whether or not you are eligible to be released on bond, and the amount of the bond. If you can not afford an attorney, you may ask the court to appoint one for you.

Q: What happens in a grand jury proceeding?

As we stated in our previouse respopnse that neither the accused nor their attorneys are present and are generally not even allowed in a grand jury proceeding.  A criminal defense attorney is also not allowed to provide assistance or representation for the accused in a grand jury indictment. Attorneys are also not allowed to accompany witnesses in a grand jury proceeding. However, a witness may ask permission to leave the room to consult with his or her attorney outside the grand jury room before returning to answer questions. What actually happens is that witnesses normally testify regarding the crime, and they also may be required to provide documentation, and the evidence is presented by the prosecution to the grand jury. After considering the evidence and witness testimonies, if a majority of the jurors vote to indict the defendant, the defendant must face further criminal proceedings.

Returning An Indictment 

After the prosecutor presents evidence, jurors vote on the proposed charges (the indictment), which were drafted by the prosecutor. If a majority of the jury believes the evidence shows probable cause of a crime, the jury "returns" the indictment. This act initiates criminal proceedings. 

Q: What should I do if I am a Witnesses

Because witnesses have not been indicted, they have no constitutional right to counsel, since the Sixth Constitutional Amendment right to counsel only applied after someone has been indicted. If a witness cannot afford an attorney, he or she can ask the court that supervises the grand jury to provide them with appointed counsel; in many districts, courts do this, as a matter of general fairness. They may appoint a private criminal defense attorney or, if the district has a Federal Public Defender’s Office, they will appoint a public defender. The witness, however, has to know to ask the court for the attorney, since prosecutors are not likely to be particularly sympathetic to such requests. You should contact a LawInfo Lead Counsel qualified criminal defense attorney immediately if you are subpoenaed as a grand jury witness or to produce any documentation for a grand jury investigation.

Is the indictment a finding of guilt?

No, an indictment is not a finding of guilt. It is simply the formal written accusation of a crime presented to a court for prosecution against the accused person. Once the grand jury files the indictment, called the "grand jury original," with the trial court, the accused is apprehended and arrested if he or she was not already arrested at the scene of the crime. If the defendant has already been arrested, he or she continues to be detained and must face further criminal proceedings. The next step after the grand jury indictment is the initial hearing where the prosecutor decides if there is enough evidence to file formal charges with the trial courts. 

What is a grant of immunity? 

A grant of immunity to a grand jury witness overcomes the witness's privilege against self-incrimination, and the witness is then required to testify. The prosecutor is prohibited from using that testimony or leads from it to bring charges against the witness. If a subsequent prosecution is brought, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that all of its evidence was obtained independent of the immunized testimony. In practice, it is difficult to successfully prosecute someone for criminal activity they discussed in immunized testimony unless the prosecution had a fully prepared case before immunity was granted. 

Charged with a Federal Offense?

The federal court system is comprised of a complex system of laws, and the consequences of being convicted of a federal offense are severe. For this reason, if you are facing federal offense charges, it is important that you seek out an attorney who has extensive experience handling criminal defense cases in federal court. Please contact ustoday for a free consultation with our skilled and effective criminal defense attorney who is intimately familiar with the federal court system and can ensure your legal rights are protected.

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Accused of a Federal Crime? Our Experienced Federal Criminal Lawyers can Help  
A lawyer at our firm may be able to help you if you are facing federal charges involving any of the following (and more)

Mortgage fraud cases involving misrepresentation and fraudulent appraisal schemes 

Securities fraud charges against brokers, fund managers and other investment professionals 

Mail fraud and wire fraud 

Internet fraud and other computer crimes including Internet solicitation of a minor for sex and the possession or distribution of online child pornography 

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Public corruption charges such as abuse of office, bribery and influence peddling 

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If you or someone you know has been contacted by federal agents or has already been arrested and is facing federal charges, be sure that you contact our federal crimes lawyer in Michigan as soon as possible. 
When the federal government files criminal charges against you, your entire future is on the line. You cannot afford to hire a lawyer  who is inexperienced or has little experience in handling federal criminal charges. A federal crime or federal offense is a crime that is either made illegal by U.S. federal legislation or a crime that occurs on U.S. federal property. If you have been accused of violating any of the crimes mentioned in United States Code Title 18 you are facing serious criminal federal charges. Penalties for Federal crimes are the most severe in the United States and, may include expensive fines, lengthy prison terms, and even the death penalty. Federal crimes in the United States are harshly and aggressively prosecuted, which makes it vital to hire experienced legal counsel to help you protect your rights. 

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A crime will be considered a federal crime if the following holds true:

•The crime occurred on federal property 
•The crime occurred in more than one state or across state lines 
•The crime is committed against a federal official 
•The crime is committed by some means of U.S. interstate commerce, such as crimes carried out by U.S. mail 

What is a Federal Crime?
Federal crimes are prosecuted differently than those prosecuted within the state court system. Federal crimes are prosecuted within the United States District Court
The penalties for federal crimes are extensive and varied, and depending upon the particular offense may include: prison sentences, heavy fines, restitution to the victim/s, probation, community service, and more. You need a lawyer on your side who is actively and aggressively fighting to protect your rights and your freedom, and our criminal defense lawyers are there to ensure you have the best representation throughout the entire criminal process.

When you hire an attorney with years of experience and legal understanding, you are taking the first vital steps towards ensuring your case has the best possible chance at a successful outcome. Without the help of an experinced criminal defense attorney, your criminal charges could not only become a conviction, but you could also face the maximum possible penalties for the crime. The prosecution in criminal defense cases will fight hard to get the harshest penalties possible for a conviction. By hiring an attorney at our firm to fight on your behalf, you can rest assured knowing that your case is in the hands of a legal team fighting aggressively to protect your rights and your freedom.

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No matter what the charges, no matter how complex the case, we have the background and the legal knowledge to provide the aggressive, effective legal representation you need.  Start protecting your rights and preparing your defense
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Do you have a question, comment, suggestion or concern to our federal criminal lawyers ? Please contact us

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