Who and What is the Grand Jury?
The grand jury are citizens that have been called to determine whether there is probable cause whether a person has committed a crime and should be charged. The grand jury is independent of the prosecutor and does not work for the prosecutor. The grand jury may consist of sixteen to twenty-three members. Twelve or more jurors must concur in order to return an indictment(charges).
Subpoena Power of the Grand Jury
The Grand Jury has the power to issue subpoenas to advance their investigation. The grand jury can compel the attendance of defendant’s family or friends. In fact, they can compel the defendant; however, the defendant and others can invoke the 5th Amendment right not to incriminate themselves.
So Do you need a lawyer if subpoenaed
Yes, you should consult a lawyer before going into the grand jury. The attorney can assess whether you have a right to invoke the 5th Amendment right not to self-incriminate to certain questions. The attorney can go with you to the grand jury but not permitted in the grand jury room. Remember if you fail to assert your privilege your privilege may be waived for other questions.
But I didn’t do anything wrong Why consult an Attorney
Sometimes you may have given a prior statement which may be inconsistent with your current statement. So although not likely it is possible for the prosecutor to charge false statements and other crimes. See D.C. Code § 22-2405 and 18 U.S.C. § 1001 (false statements); D.C. Code § 22-2402 and 18 U.S.C. § 1621 (perjury); 18 U.S.C. § 1623 (false declarations before a court or grand jury).