Pollen fills the air here in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia where I am a criminal defense attorney who specializes in federal criminal cases, both pre-trial investigations as well as trials and appeals. Pollen means we see beautiful flowering bushes and trees, but getting a federal grand jury subpoena will make many business people sneeze uncontrollably.
Two members of a family hired me because several of their companies received grand jury subpoenas. Their experience is rather usual, so I’ll explain few things just to remind readers about the pitfalls that can happen when such subpoenas are handed out.
First, a grand jury subpoena can be an order to produce documents, to come give testimony before the grand jury, or both. The first thing to remember is that no one has to provide a defense against him or herself, so anyone getting such a subpoena should go immediately to a reputable criminal defense attorney who knows the ins and outs of federal practice.
Second, such subpoenas are often used as a method for federal agents to sort of get their foot inside someone’s door and see if they will talk. By law the subpoena has to be “served”, which means handed to the person to whom it is directed. Most people shocked to find a federal agent at their front door with a subpoena, and such agents can be very wily when engaging in this practice. The bottom line is the usual: do NOT say anything until after you consult with a knowledgeable lawyer.
Third, these subpoenas usually have a deadline. Do not fret. A criminal defense lawyer who regularly handles such matters is often acquainted with the individual prosecutor handling the matter, and can most times negotiate in order to get sufficient time to prepare for a response to the subpoena.
OK, the pollen still fills the air, the trees bushes and flowers are gorgeous, and this writer needs to get back to preparing the response to the grand jury subpoena served on my clients recently.