Grand juries are an investigative step in the Pennsylvania criminal process. Prosecutors don’t use them in every case and often file charges without them. When faced with a complicated case, prosecutors might want a grand jury investigation. Grand juries help gather more evidence and test potential arguments.
As someone accused of a crime, a Pennsylvania grand jury is intimidating. The process is one-sided in favor of the prosecution. You can’t defend yourself during the grand jury process. But you can work with a criminal defense attorney to protect yourself and prepare for possible charges.
If you are being investigated in Chester County, contact Michael Skinner of Skinner Law Firm. Michael is a former assistant district attorney and a highly experienced defense lawyer. He knows how prosecutors build cases and how to find weaknesses.
Schedule a free and confidential consultation by calling (610) 436-1410 24/7.
Hire a lawyer as soon as you know the police suspect you committed a crime. You should never answer questions without one. You might say something that hurts you. A lawyer also helps clear up any misunderstandings.
Hiring a lawyer right away also helps you prepare for a possible grand jury or criminal charges. You can’t do anything during the grand jury process. You aren’t allowed to defend yourself, and your lawyer can’t cross-examine witnesses. But you should have legal representation anyway. Your lawyer can observe to learn more about the prosecutor’s evidence and arguments.
A grand jury doesn’t guarantee you’ll be charged with a crime. But prosecutors may bring charges afterward depending on its findings. By having a grand jury lawyer, you are prepared to defend yourself at trial.
A grand jury is a group of 23 Pennsylvania residents. It’s different from a jury used at a criminal trial. It doesn’t decide guilt. Instead, it reviews the evidence and determines whether a crime has probably been committed.
A local prosecutor forms a grand jury by asking a judge for an order to summon a grand jury. Everyone on that jury is from one county. The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office may ask the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to gather a grand jury of people from multiple counties.
The prosecution presents evidence, such as:
The grand jury can demand more information. It investigates, which is why it can force people to testify or hand over records.
Grand juries are secret and not open to the public. Very few people are allowed in the room. The jurors, and sometimes witnesses, aren’t allowed to tell other people what goes on behind closed doors.
The outcome of a grand jury may be:
Are you the subject of a grand jury? If you don’t have a lawyer yet, call Skinner Law Firm. You need to know what you’re up against before you might face charges.
Aside from grand juries, the Pennsylvania criminal process also uses preliminary hearings to determine whether a crime was likely committed. Like a grand jury, the preliminary hearing doesn’t determine guilt. It decides whether you should face criminal charges.
However, your criminal defense lawyer is permitted to defend you at a preliminary hearing, which is why it’s essential to hire one right away. A lawyer can show the court there isn’t enough evidence. That can end the case then and there.
You can’t do much. You can’t present evidence or object to the prosecutor’s actions. That’s why it’s crucial to protect yourself early in the criminal process. If an officer arrests you or contacts you with questions, call a criminal defense lawyer.
A lawyer will explain your rights and options. They’ll recommend when it’s a good idea to talk with the police or when you shouldn’t answer questions. They’ll prepare you to speak with the police, when necessary. Preparation helps you avoid saying anything the cops could use against you.
A defense attorney may help you avoid a grand jury. But you can’t control whether or not a prosecutor calls for a grand jury. You can only start to build a defense right away.
The results of a Chester County grand jury can be life-altering. Work with a capable defense attorney right away. Attorney Michael Skinner of Skinner Law Firm may be able to help you avoid the process or prepare for the charges that follow. Your initial consultation is free; there are no obligations. Give us a call at (610) 436-1410 to set up a meeting.