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What to Expect If You Receive a Subpoena to Testify Before a Grand Jury

Jeff Cole
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Partner at Zimmer, Duncan & Cole

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If you are served with a subpoena to testify in front of a grand jury in South Dakota, you may feel a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty about why you’ve been asked to appear at these proceedings. Understanding the grand jury process can help you to protect yourself.

Duties of the Grand Jury

A grand jury is comprised of six to ten citizens selected randomly from the county jury list. The grand jury has the power to do the following:

  • Inquire about misdemeanors and felonies in the county
  • Call witnesses and take testimony from them
  • Require that documents and other evidence be produced
  • Decide whether an indictment (criminal charges) should be brought against a person

What to Expect If You Must Testify Before a Grand Jury

A prosecutor will generally subpoena a person to testify in front of a grand jury for one of two reasons:

  • The prosecutor believes the person is a witness to a crime committed by another person and wants to take testimony to obtain an indictment.
  • The prosecutor considers the witness a suspect in a crime and wants to develop evidence against him.

Here is some important information you should know if you receive a subpoena:

  • The prosecutor will not tell you if you’re a witness or a suspect.
  • Your attorney can be present outside the grand jury room but cannot be in the room while you testify.
  • If you are a suspect, neither you nor your attorney is allowed to be present when the grand jury questions other witnesses.
  • Your testimony can be used against you. And no one is required to give you the Miranda rights warning.

If you have received a subpoena to testify before a grand jury, it is critical that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. At Zimmer, Duncan & Cole, LLP, we have experience helping people with all types of criminal matters. Fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can help you.


Category: Criminal Defense


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