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Charles Magill

Fresno Defense Attorneys | Fresno Criminal Defense | Central Valley Criminal Defense Law Firm

Grand Jury Indictments

Fresno Grand Jury Indictment Attorneys

For a person who has not yet consulted with a Fresno criminal defense attorney, the very words “grand jury” can elicit panic. There is definitely reason for you to be concerned when you have a grand jury case pending against you, or when you are under investigation by a grand jury.

Simply put, a grand jury is a group of people who will decide whether there is enough evidence for a trial against you. A grand jury is given the chance of investigating and examining the evidence against you. If the jury finds that there is enough evidence for a trial, it will issue an indictment and a criminal trial will follow.  Typically, grand juries are used in federal cases and involve federal crimes.  While grand juries exist in California, their investigations usually focus on the actions of county and city agencies, rather than individual criminal defendants.

There are other differences between a grand jury and a regular trial jury. If your case is heard before a criminal trial jury, you have the opportunity to present evidence in your defense through your attorney. However, when your case is heard by a grand jury, neither you nor your lawyer will be allowed to be present during the entire grand jury process. Your attorney will not be allowed to cross-examine any of the witnesses that present testimony against you before the grand jury. The prosecutors in the case, which are typically government lawyers from the US Attorneys’ Office, will present only their evidence against you before the grand jury. You are only entitled to be present before a grand jury while you are subpoenaed as a witness.  All proceedings before the grand jury are conducted behind closed doors, and needless to say, the proceedings are tilted heavily in favor of the prosecution. Since you don't have an opportunity to defend yourself, it's relatively easy for the government to build a case for indictment.

It is critical that you contact a California criminal defense lawyer as soon as you learn about a potential grand jury investigation.  A Fresno criminal defense attorney familiar with grand jury indictments may be able to prevent your case from going before a grand jury at all.  If you have been indicted by a grand jury, a well-respected Fresno criminal lawyer can help ease you through the process.