What you can expect at your grand jury appearance

On Behalf of | Feb 13, 2023 | Federal Criminal Charges |

A grand jury is a crucial part of the criminal court process in Tennessee. It is a panel of 13 “average” citizens and their job is to probe the information available to determine if there is enough evidence to show that someone committed a crime. Those who plead guilty right away will not have their cases heard by a grand jury, but those who intend to defend themselves against certain criminal charges will.

When someone faces federal charges or serious state charges, they may need to speak in front of a grand jury. Witnesses and individuals who may not understand how they relate to a criminal situation may find themselves summoned to speak in front of a grand jury.

Many people naturally feel nervous about the idea of needing to answer questions in front of a grand jury. What can you expect after receiving a summons?

You will have to answer all the questions honestly

The most basic thing that you need to understand is that the grand jury will have questions about some potentially criminal incidents. You may already be aware of the accusations against you if you are the primary suspect in this case.

Information that you have could be crucial to the development of a case, so they may ask you all kinds of questions, including some that could lead to criminal charges against you if you are not already facing charges.

It is crucial that you understand your right to avoid self-incrimination. You can refuse to answer questions, but answering them dishonestly or inaccurately could result in serious, negative consequences.

What you say could lead to prosecution

Statements made in front of a grand jury, whether they are inaccurate or somehow implicate you, could lead to criminal prosecution. A grand jury often decides who will face charges for a specific incident, so what happens in front of a grand jury can have a major bearing on your future.

Many people require help preparing to testify in front of a grand jury. They need guidance on how to dress, how to speak and when to invoke their right not to answer. Considering how your words could lead to criminal charges might help you to better prepare if you must make an appearance in front of a grand jury.