By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
If you have gotten a a letter notifying you of a grand jury date in Collin County, Texas, it means the District Attorney’s office is attempting to indict you for a felony. You need a lawyer immediately.
A grand jury is a body of citizens appointed by a district judge who meet regularly to review whether there is sufficient evidence to issue a true bill of indictment for a felony offense. An accused does not have the right to be present nor present a case to the grand jury.
Though you don’t have many rights when it comes to a grand jury proceeding, you do have a lot of legal strategy to consider.
How Your Lawyer Would Deal with the Grand Jury
Often times a person accused of a crime can submit a “grand jury packet.” A grand jury packet is an informal summation of the Defendant’s arguments for the grand jurors to review not to indict. Most packets include an an analysis of the applicable law, the defendants side of the case, and also other mitigating factors behind the incident being investigated.
On occasion, a grand jury will allow an accused to testify in their own defense when the accused volunteers to do so.
Many times, also, it may not make sense to submit a grand jury packet. One advantage a criminal defendant has in our system is that they don’t have to divulge their defense to the prosecutor. Depending on the particular facts, it may be wiser to not reveal your defense until the time of trial. Knowing when a grand jury packet will work — and when it will backfire requires thorough and detailed professional analysis by an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney.
It is possible to turn the grand jury situation to your advantage as a criminal defendant. this is because the theory behind the grand jury system is that it is actually a safeguard against over-zealous prosecution. Think of it this way — a civil lawyer needs only a good faith belief to file a lawsuit for money. A prosecutor needs probably cause to file a misdemeanor without a grand jury review. Because a felony charge is so serious — it does require review and indictment by a separate panel. That panel can — and will tell the prosecutors “no” from time to time.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice about any specific situation you should contact an attorney directly.