When you are being investigated for criminal activity, the prosecuting attorney might decide to present the case they have to the grand jury for a recommendation about whether to press criminal charges against you. The grand jury, which doesn’t decide guilt or innocence, is a completely different type of jury that a trial jury, which is tasked with deciding if you are guilty or innocent.
The grand jury is usually made up of 23 people. Those jurors work with the prosecuting attorney to decide if the evidence in a case is strong enough for the prosecutor to press criminal charges. The jurors are allowed to review the evidence in the case. They can ask questions and make certain requests that aren’t allowed for a trial jury.
The purpose of the grand jury is to make a recommendation about how criminal charges are handled. The decisions that are made a grand jury aren’t binding, so a prosecutor can opt to go against the grand jury. That means that even if a grand jury says that you shouldn’t face charges, the prosecutor can still opt to press charges.
Grand jury proceedings are confidental so that people involved in them are protected. This offers a certain amount of protection to people who won’t face charges based on the grand jury’s findings.
If you find out that the grand jury working on your case recommended prosecution, you need to start working on your defense. This will give you time to find out the points being used against you so that you can determine how you will answer each point.
Source: FindLaw, “What’s the Difference Between a Grand Jury and a Trial Jury?,” accessed Feb. 29, 2016
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