Florida Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Defense
Our Highly-Experienced Federal Defense Lawyers Provide Strategic Representation for Clients Served with Federal Grand Jury Subpoenas in Florida.
If you have been served with a federal grand jury subpoena, this means one of two things: Either you are being treated as a witness and federal prosecutors believe you may have information that they can use to prosecute someone else, or you are the target of a federal investigation and you are at risk for being indicted on federal criminal charges. While the latter scenario is undoubtedly more high-risk, even if you are “only” a witness, you still need to prepare your response appropriately in order to avoid putting yourself in the government’s crosshairs.
Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers with Experience on Both Sides of 1,000+ Grand Jury Proceedings
Responding to a federal grand jury subpoena is a serious and highly-complex matter with the potential for severe implications. Even if you are not the target of the government’s investigation, sharing incriminating information could lead to an investigation, and withholding responsive information could lead to contempt charges even if you have not committed any other federal crime. If you are the target (or one of the targets) of the government’s investigation, the grand jury process is your last chance to defend yourself before formal charges are filed.
However, while these are all very real potential consequences of a federal grand jury proceeding, it is also very possible that you could come out of the process completely unscathed. At Oberheiden, P.C., we have extensive experience representing clients in federal grand jury proceedings in Florida and across the country. Since many of our attorneys are former U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) trial attorneys who used to prosecute federal criminal cases on behalf of the government, we are familiar with the handling of grand jury proceedings on both sides, and we rely on our former prosecutors’ past government experience to develop strategic defenses focused on protecting our clients against indictment.
Our federal criminal defense lawyers are available to represent clients in federal grand jury proceedings in:
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (including courthouses in Tampa, Fernandina, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Live Oak, Ocala, Orlando, and St. Petersburg)
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (including courthouses in Tallahassee, Gainesville, Marianna, Panama City, and Pensacola)
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (including courthouses in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Pierce, Key West, and West Palm Beach)
Served with a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena in Florida? Here’s What You Need to Know
1. There are Three Main Types of Federal Grand Jury Subpoenas
There are three main types of federal grand jury subpoenas: (i) a subpoena that requests verbal testimony, (ii) a subpoena that requests production of documents and files (a subpoena duces tecum), and (iii) a subpoena that requests both.
- Testifying in Response to a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena – If you are being asked to testify, you will need to prepare your testimony as thoroughly as possible. This involves anticipating prosecutors’ questions, assessing their potential implications, and crafting responses that protect your legal privileges (such as the attorney-client privilege) and your constitutional rights (such as the right against self-incrimination).
- Producing Records in Response to a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Duces Tecum – A federal grand jury subpoena duces tecum can require production of electronically-stored information, hardcopy documents, or both. Upon receiving a subpoena duces tecum, it is imperative to preserve any and all potentially-relevant files – including those that may be automatically deleted based upon document retention policies and those that are in the possession of individual employees.
- Responding to a Grand Jury Subpoena Requesting Testimony and Records – If you have received this third type of grand jury subpoena, you have the most work to do. You must rigorously prepare your testimony to ensure that you feel confident walking into the courtroom, and you must work diligently to timely produce all responsive files in an acceptable format.
2. Federal Prosecutors Use Grand Jury Subpoenas to Obtain Information from Targets and Witnesses
If you have been served with a federal grand jury subpoena, this does not necessarily mean that you are the target of the government’s investigation. While you may be a target, you may also have been subpoenaed based on federal prosecutors’ belief that you have information they can use to prosecute someone else. In order to respond to your subpoena appropriately (and defend yourself if necessary), it is critical to determine why you have been subpoenaed. Typically, this requires engaging with federal prosecutors which is a task that should be handled by your attorneys.
3. Unless You Successfully Challenge Your Grand Jury Subpoena, You Must Respond in Full
While you may have grounds to challenge your grand jury subpoena, unless and until you file a successful challenge, you must prepare to respond in full. Challenging a grand jury subpoena can either involve negotiating with federal prosecutors or filing a motion to quash in federal district court. Potential grounds for challenging a federal grand jury subpoena include:
- The subpoena suffers from procedural deficiencies under federal law or court rules
- The subpoena seeks information that is irrelevant to the government’s investigation
- The subpoena seeks information that you do not possess
- The subpoena is overly-broad, unduly burdensome, or unreasonably intrusive or oppressive
4. The Consequences of Failing to Properly Respond to a Grand Jury Subpoena are Severe
If you fail to adequately respond to a federal grand jury subpoena, not only will you be underprepared to testify or submit an incomplete document production, but you could also potentially expose yourself to federal prosecution for contempt. Even if you are currently being treated as a witness, your failure to comply can still result in being federally charged.
5. Preparing a Federal Grand Jury Subpoena Response Can Be a Time and Labor-Intensive Process
Whether you must provide testimony, produce documents, or both, responding to a federal grand jury subpoena can be a time and labor-intensive process. With all that is at stake, you cannot afford to take your preparations lightly. From working with your defense counsel to anticipate questions and formulate answers to identifying and compiling all responsive documents, right now, your primary focus should be on preparing your response. You will also need time to review your responsive documents to ensure that you preserve your attorney-client privilege and avoid unnecessarily disclosing self-incriminating evidence as well.
6. You are Not Entitled to Legal Representation When Testifying Before the Grand Jury
Many people are surprised to learn that they are not entitled to legal representation while they are testifying in front of the grand jury. But, this is the rule in federal cases. This underscores the importance of thoroughly preparing your testimony, and you will need to work with your defense team to ensure that you know how and when to request to speak with one of your attorneys outside of the grand jury’s presence as well.
7. The Grand Jury Proceeding Will End with a “True Bill” or a “No Bill”
At the end of the grand jury proceedings, the grand jurors will deliberate and then issue either a “true bill” or a “no bill.” In order to issue a true bill, they must conclude that the evidence presented during the proceedings establishes “probable cause” to believe that the alleged offenses have been committed. Upon the issuance of a true bill, the court will then authorize the filing of formal charges, and then the case will proceed to the next phase before trial.
8. You Can, and Should, Protect Your Attorney-Client Privilege
With respect to testimony and document protection, you can – and should – protect your attorney-client privilege. You cannot be compelled to disclose any communications with your legal counsel, even if those communications are relevant and could otherwise serve as evidence in the government’s investigation. Once again, thorough preparation is critical; and, before submitting any documents in response to a federal grand jury subpoena duces tecum, your counsel will need to thoroughly review the production to ensure that no privileged communications will be disclosed.
9. Testifying or Providing Records to a Grand Jury is Just One Step in the Process
Testifying or providing records to a grand jury is just one step in the process of responding to (and defending yourself during) a federal criminal investigation. You can take steps to protect yourself prior to grand jury proceedings; and, if an indictment is issued, you can take steps to protect yourself after the grand jury proceedings as well. At Oberheiden, P.C., we represent clients at all stages of the federal investigative and prosecutorial processes, and we have a long and established track record of securing favorable results for our clients.
10. Hiring Experienced Defense Counsel Can Greatly Reduce Your Risk of Indictment
When facing a federal grand jury subpoena, the importance of seeking experienced defense representation cannot be overstated. To learn more in a free and confidential consultation, please contact us today.
Contact Oberheiden, P.C. about Your Federal Grand Jury Subpoena in Florida
Our attorneys provide experienced and strategic defense representation for federal grand jury proceedings in Florida and nationwide. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a federal defense lawyer, call us at (214) 692-2171 or tell us how to reach you online now.