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NJ and NY Grand Jury Subpoenas Defense Lawyers

New York/New Jersey Office
30 Wall Street, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(Meeting location by appointment only)

The attorneys at the Oberheiden, P.C. have comprehensive experience in defending clients in connection with federal grand juries.  Throughout our careers as former members of the Department of Justice and in private practice, we have handled more than one thousand federal grand jury subpoenas throughout the United States, including in New York and New Jersey.  At Oberheiden, P.C., every client is represented by one of our senior criminal defense attorneys, and never pawned off on a paralegal or junior attorney.  Our criminal defense lawyers include internationally known defense attorney Dr. Nick Oberheiden.

Grand Jury Investigations

In the tri-state area, our attorneys represent both corporate clients and individuals who have received subpoenas requiring them to testify before a federal grand jury.  Because our team contains both former federal prosecutors and qualified defense lawyers, we have a wide range of experience from which we can draw to inform you of the best ways to handle subpoenas and document requests.  Lately, New York and New Jersey have both seen a massive rise in federal criminal cases and, accordingly, grand jury proceedings.  Right now, the federal government is focusing on New York and New Jersey professionals and businesses in the following areas:

  • Medicare Fraud
  • Medicaid Fraud
  • Tricare Fraud
  • Tax Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Procurement Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
  • Computer Crimes
  • Embezzlement

If you have received a subpoena from a federal grand jury on your own behalf or for your company call us today for a free, confidential, immediate consultation with one of our former Assistant United States Attorneys or experienced defense counsel.  The lawyers at Oberheiden, P.C. have handled over 1000 grand jury subpoenas across the country, and can help minimize your risk of becoming a target in a criminal case.

The Grand Jury Process Explained

The United States Constitution provides that federal felonies are charged by a grand jury indictment, which can only be issued if the grand jury finds probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.  The grand jury makes its determination by investigating potential crimes through a number of methods, but primarily by issuing subpoenas.  Grand juries issue two types of subpoenas, testimonial and documentary.

  • Testimonial. A testimonial subpoena requires the named person to appear as a witness before the grand jury and provide testimony under oath. Defense counsel is not allowed to be present during grand jury testimony, and answering questions in such a loaded environment can make it difficult to avoid self-incrimination, especially when you do not know the extent of the investigation the government is undertaking.  For these reasons, we will often attempt to negotiate an agreement with the federal prosecutors providing that our client need not attend or testify before the grand jury.
  • Documentary. A documentary subpoena, on the other hand, instructs the person or entity named therein to produce certain business records and other documents to the grand jury by a specific date. These subpoenas are also known as subpoenas duces tecum.  Subpoenas duces tecum will often request contracts, corporate books and records, corporate minutes, financial records, calendars, emails, text messages, and even photos and videos.  The government may request any document in which it is interested, but in order for the subpoena to be enforceable, the documents requested must be relevant to the case at hand, properly limited to a reasonable time period, and identified in a way that the person can reasonably identify the requested items.

Once the grand jury investigation is completed, the grand jury has two options:  first, it may decide that it has probable cause to believe a crime has been committed, and issue the indictment that the prosecutor has requested; second, it may determine that there is not probable cause and will issue a so-called “no-bill” indicating that no criminal charges will be filed by the government for the present.  If the grand jury decides that an indictment should issue, the government will notify the target that he is now a criminal defendant through federal agents.  In many instances, such notification is the first time that this individual is even aware that an investigation was underway, because grand jury proceedings are secret and not a matter of public knowledge.  Note, importantly, that a grand jury indictment is neither a criminal conviction nor a judgment of guilt.  The grand jury’s job is only to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime.  Whether or not that probable cause turns out to be true is an issue that will be determined by the criminal case, which begins after the indictment issues.

Common Mistakes to Avoid Before the Grand Jury

Remembering that the grand jury’s raison d’etre is to decide whether or not to bring criminal charges against someone via indictment, anyone who receives a subpoena from a federal grand jury should not hesitate, but immediately construct an effective defense strategy.  Many times in our careers, we have seen a witness who did not take his or her testimony sufficiently seriously, or who failed to properly prepare for the grand jury, switch roles from someone who should have only been a witness into a target of investigation.  On the other hand, we have also frequently participated in cases where effective defense work turned a potential target into only a witness.  We give all of our clients who are facing a grand jury the following advice:

  • Do Not Ignore. If you have received a subpoena, you may believe that the subject matter is irrelevant, that the subpoena is unenforceable, or that you do not have any documents that are responsive to the items listed. However, a subpoena must never be ignored.  Without proper and timely objections, every subpoena issued is fully enforceable under the power of the federal government.  Instead of disregarding the subpoena, discarding it, or delaying your preparation of the required material, immediately find the time to consult with experienced attorneys to formulate a plan of defense.
  • Do Not Talk to the Government. In criminal investigations, it is common for federal agents to approach potential witnesses at their office or their home and try to engage them in a conversation or informal interview. Although there is no need to be rude to such agents, you should also understand that you are not under any obligation to speak to them.  We do not believe that there is any benefit to our clients from speaking to representatives of the federal government without an attorney present, particularly because courts have ruled that federal agents are allowed to lie to you as part of their investigations.  And while they are allowed to lie to you, remember that if you lie to a federal agent, you have automatically committed a crime.  Rather than engage in conversation, supply your name and a form of identification and then politely insist that you wish to exercise your constitutional right to an attorney before speaking any further.
  • Do Not Destroy or Alter. The minute you become aware of a grand jury subpoena or federal investigation, you are obliged not to destroy, change, delete, or otherwise tamper with anything that may be considered evidence, including paper documents, electronic documents, text messages, pictures, and videos.  Doing so constitutes the felony of obstruction of justice.  Remember that the federal government employs specialized technology experts and forensic examiners who are experts in discovering that evidence has been destroyed or altered.
  • Do Not Volunteer. When you receive a subpoena, whether for documents, testimony, or both, read it carefully to see what it is asking.  The existence of a subpoena does not mean you need to turn over your entire computer or filing cabinet or tell the prosecutor everything you know about the subject at hand.  Your natural inclination will probably be to be cooperative, but do not be overly so.  You should instead consult with an experienced attorney to determine what must be produced and what should be, and legally can be, withheld.  Your attorney can assist you in searching, organizing, selecting, and producing your documents as well as in preparing for any needed testimony.

Organizing Subpoena Responses

Whether you are a witness or a target of a criminal investigation, receiving a grand jury subpoena requires you to spend time and money in response.  Additionally, the subpoena identifies a potential challenge to your livelihood and even your freedom.  If you have been identified as a potential witness to a federal crime, it is vitally important that you respond appropriately and do not become entangled in the investigation any further than you are.  The type of entanglement we warn against occurs most often when a witness unknowingly or knowingly provides incriminating, inaccurate, or incomplete information in response to the subpoena.  Thus, it is imperative to work with your attorney and minimize your exposure to the investigation.  A defense attorney with the proper skills and experience can assist you be helping to confine and define the limits of the criminal investigation.

  • Organize

As soon as you suspect or become aware that a grand jury subpoena is on its way to you, retain a qualified defense attorney and begin to plan your response as soon as you can.  You should ensure that your business records and corporate documentation are in order; if not, use this time to organize them more efficiently (but do not delete or alter any documents you have).  For example, review your employee handbooks, training manuals, and compliance policies to make sure they are up to date and complete, and review contracts to make sure they have been approved and signed.  Also, talk to your accountant and make sure that he or she has reviewed and approved your tax filings and other related documents.

    • Preserve

As previously mentioned, deleting or changing any documents may earn you a federal indictment for obstruction of justice.  In addition to preserving your personal documents, if the subpoena relates to your business, consider issuing a document preservation notice to employees, independent contractors, partners, or anyone else who may have company documents and simultaneously suspend any document retention policies that might result in evidence being destroyed.  These practices are often looked upon with favor by government attorneys.

    • Produce

Once you have actually been subpoenaed, contact your attorney and let him or her know so that discussions about due dates and the nature and scope of the subpoena can begin with the prosecutor.  Meanwhile, gather all of the documents requested by the subpoena.  Even though the courts try to limit subpoenas by time and subject matter, it may take you several weeks to gather all of the needed documents and organize them.  Once you do that, your attorney will need to review them all carefully to decide which of them must actually be produced.

If you have received a grand jury subpoena, contact us today to speak with one of the senior criminal defense attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C.. Initial consultations are free and confidential.  We are available seven days a week, including weekends.

Our Track Record

At Oberheiden, P.C., we have helped multitudes of individuals and businesses in federal grand jury proceedings. Our goal, always, is to avoid criminal charges for our clients. We have represented clients in criminal cases, government investigations, and grand jury subpoenas across the country, including in New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, South Carolina, Colorado, and Michigan. The following represent case outcomes.

  • Grand Jury Subpoena against Physician
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • Grand Jury Subpoena against Physician
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • Grand Jury Subpoena against Pharmacy
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • Grand Jury Subpoena against Business Owner
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • Grand Jury Subpoena against Accountant
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • OIG Subpoena against Business
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • OIG Subpoena against Business
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • OIG Subpoena against Business
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • OIG Subpoena against Business
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • OIG Subpoena against Business
    Result: No criminal charges.
  • OIG Subpoena against Business
    Result: No criminal charges.

If you have received a government subpoena, contact us today. Speak to the experienced attorneys of Oberheiden, P.C. and request a free and confidential consultation to assess your case.

Including Weekends
Oberheiden, P.C.
Serving New York, New Jersey, and Surrounding Areas
This information has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. This information may constitute attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Reading of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. Prior results do not guarantee similar future outcomes. Oberheiden, P.C. is a Texas PC with headquarters in Dallas. Mr. Oberheiden limits his practice to federal law.

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