If you have been served a grand jury subpoena, you must comply and take this order seriously to avoid non-compliance, which can result in contempt of court charges. State and federal prosecutors commonly use these subpoenas to obtain information and evidence from individuals or entities they suspect has pertinent information regarding a criminal case. To protect your rights and understand your obligation, it is in your best interest to retain the legal services of a skilled Chesterfield Criminal Defense Lawyer who can advise you on how to proceed best to prevent criminal charges. Please continue reading to learn what to do if you receive a grand jury subpoena.
What is a grand jury subpoena in South Carolina?
A subpoena is an order issued by the court which requires a person or entity to appear before the court on a specific date and time to testify as a witness or produce documents about a particular case. A grand jury subpoena differs from other subpoenas because the grand jury issues them to obtain evidence to investigate potential criminal activity and determine whether charges should be brought. It is critical to note that the grand jury is made up of impartial citizens that have been selected and empowered by law to investigate criminal activity. You cannot refuse to comply if you receive this type of subpoena. You must appear before the court on a specific date and time to provide testimony, evidence, or produce petitioned documents. There are two different types of grand jury subpoenas you may receive:
- Witness Subpoena ( Subpoena ad testificandum): This subpoena requires an individual or entity to testify before a grand jury during a criminal case.
- Subpoena for the Production of Documents (subpoena duces tecum): This subpoena requires an individual or entity to produce documents that provide pertinent information relevant to a case.
If you have been served with a grand jury subpoena, the government believes you have pertinent information regarding a criminal case. Therefore, you must comply with this type of subpoena. As mentioned above, non-compliance can result in contempt of court charges.
Can I challenge this type of subpoena?
If you are served with a grand jury subpoena, it is in your best interest to acquire quality legal counsel who can help you file a motion to quash it or object to producing petitioned documents. Under certain circumstances, you can challenge this type of subpoena. The following events include:
- You were improperly served.
- If you were to produce the requested documents, it would infringe upon your Fifth Amendment rights.
- The requested documents contain privileged information.
- The requested documents are irrelevant to the case.
- If you were to comply with the subpoena, it would cause you unjustified embarrassment.
You cannot challenge this subpoena if these circumstances do not exist. However, an experienced Chesterfield criminal defense lawyer can help you avoid non-compliance and attempt to quash the subpoena altogether. Our firm is committed to assisting clients to prevent the significant repercussions of failing or refusing to respond to a grand jury subpoena.