When the government believes you possess relevant information about a criminal case, you may be served a grand jury subpoena. A grand jury subpoena differs from other subpoenas. Understanding your rights and obligations when served this subpoena is vital, as failure or refusal to respond can lead to contempt of court charges. Regardless of whether you are the target of an investigation or the subject of an inquiry, you must comply with this subpoena to prevent significant penalties. If you have been served a grand jury subpoena, contact a qualified Camden County Criminal Defense Attorney as soon as possible, as we can advise you on how best to proceed. Please continue reading to learn what to do if you get a grand jury subpoena in New Jersey.
What is a grand jury subpoena in New Jersey?
A subpoena is an order issued by the court that usually requires a person or entity to appear before the court to testify or produce documents relevant to a particular criminal case. As mentioned above, grand jury subpoenas differ from other subpoenas. This is primarily because the grand jury issues them. Essentially, the grand jury comprises citizens empowered by law to investigate potential criminal activity to determine whether charges should be brought against a defendant.
This subpoena is commonly used to obtain pertinent evidence and testimony that can aid a criminal investigation. It is critical to note that there are two different types of subpoenas the grand jury may issue you:
- Subpoena ad testificandum, also known as Witness Subpoena, requires a person or entity to testify before a grand jury in a criminal case.
- Subpoena duces tecum, also known as the Subpoena for the Production of Documents, requires a person or entity to produce requested documents relevant to a case to the grand jury.
If you fail or refuse to respond to this subpoena, you will be found non-compliant, resulting in contempt of court charges. Contempt of court charges may include hefty fines, imprisonment, and other significant penalties. That said, many people wonder whether they can challenge a grand jury subpoena.
Is it possible to challenge it?
If you have been served with this subpoena, you will not know whether you have received it because you are the target of the investigation or only required to produce information relevant to a case. Therefore, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a seasoned attorney who can assist you in quashing the subpoena. Unfortunately, you can only challenge this subpoena under the following circumstances:
- The subpoena was improperly served to you.
- The information requested would infringe upon your Fifth Amendment rights.
- Compliance with the subpoena would cause your unjustified embarrassment.
- The requested documents are privileged information or contain information that is not relevant to the case.
Ultimately, to understand your rights and obligations when served a grand jury subpoena, contact an adept Camden County criminal defense attorney from the dedicated legal team at Thomas DeMarco & Associates, LLC as soon as possible. Our firm is committed to defending our clients and helping them prevent contempt of court charges.