The term “grand jury” may sound familiar, but did you know that the United States of America is the last common law jurisdiction in the world that still uses a grand jury? So what makes a grand jury different than a regular jury? The most obvious difference is that a grand jury “sits” for a much longer period of time. Whereas a regular trial may be over in a matter of days or weeks, grand juries are subject to sit for up to 36 months. (Federal grand juries, by law, are only permitted to sit for 18 months.) Despite this marked difference in time, grand jurors are often selected from the same pool as general trial jurors. These jurors, however, do not convene every day as they would in a regular trial. They are summoned at specific times to hear the case at hand.
There is one more major distinction. Jurors in a regular criminal trial listen to prepared evidence and testimonies, ultimately voting on whether or not the defendant is guilty. Those appointed to a grand jury, on the other hand, are there to determine whether or not the defendant should be charged with a crime at all.
If you have been arrested, charged with a felony, and arraigned by a District Attorney, it could be up to a grand jury to decide whether or not said attorney has enough evidence to move forward in an attempt to indict you. When a grand jury finds that there is indeed enough evidence, only then would you be indicted. This is called a “true bill.” Conversely, a “no true bill” means the grand jury does not believe that the District Attorney has sufficient evidence.
Learn More About Grand Jury Processes
If you’re to stand before a Grand Jury, you are going to need support. One of the most important junctures of a grand jury is the moment when the defendant chooses whether or not to give testimony. You do not have to testify, but it may behoove you to do so. Only a skilled attorney can determine whether or not your testimony will be beneficial to the ultimate verdict. At Kaplan Lawyers PC, that’s exactly what we’re offering: a skilled team of attorneys who will diligently analyze the facts surrounding your case and contribute precise and advantageous decision-making on your behalf. A grand jury can seem an insurmountable adversary, a lost battle. But we at Kaplan Lawyers PC beg to differ. We’re here to assist you during your time of need.
Attorney Jared S. Kaplan
Attorney Jared S. Kaplan has focused his career on advancing his legal knowledge though the day to day practice of law. Jared is a partner in the law firm of Kaplan Lawyers PC in Syosset, New York and has been a practicing attorney for nearly 20 years. His career started in litigation, so Jared is aware of the pitfalls in litigation and uses that knowledge in the representation of his clients in complex matters. [ Attorney Bio ]