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Grand Jury Criminal Law Washington

If you have received a Grand Jury Subpoena, to testify or for documents, you should consult with a lawyer to protect your rights. Similarly, if someone you are connected with some person or organization who receives a subpoena, you may be the subject or target of a Grand Jury Investigation and should consult with an attorney immediately.
Grand Jury criminal investigations are required before indictment in Federal Court and common in Washington State (often known as Special Inquiry Proceedings per RCW 10.27) before criminal charges are filed in any case. Law enforcement wields far ranging powers of investigation, including the power to subpoena witnesses and documents, including from those people who may only be “witnesses” in the matter, rather than a “subject” or “target” of the investigation.

Grand Jury Witness Subpoenas

In many instances, a Grand Jury Witness who is unrepresented by attorneys can be mistreated by the government and the process can become needlessly complicated and time consuming. And for the subject (person of interest who is “suspected” of a possible offense) or a target of any criminal investigation, even if you have not received a subpoena it is essential to obtain legal representation. Because these investigations largely occur in secrete, you need to hire counsel who is experienced in grand jury criminal investigation matter and can help protect your rights.
I have represented hundreds of individuals during the Grand Jury criminal investigation process – targets, subjects and witnesses. In many of those cases, my hard work has often resulted in decisions not to charge his client. Most recently, in a multi-million dollar criminal tax fraud investigation in Federal Court in North Carolina, Mr. Engelhard convinced the Department of Justice against filing any criminal charges, so that this matter can be resolved civilly. In other instances, because of my hard work and willingness to fight, I have reached very favorable resolutions of cases prior to formal charges – far better than the likely resolution after charging of formal charges.

Q & A With Scott Engelhard

Interviewer: What is grand jury representation?

Scott Engelhard: Grand jury representation varies widely; from the representation of people subpoenaed to testify and/or bring documents to a grand jury on the one hand; to representing people who are the subjects or targets of the investigation and may well be indicted by the Grand Jury. This representation is particularly challenging because the grand jury meets in secret, behind closed doors. It is critical that targets, subjects, and even witnesses understand the general grand jury process and the focus and extent of the investigation as quickly as possible in order to achieve the best outcome possible. For example, with good representation, witness appearances can be made much shorter and simpler, or even avoided altogether.

Interviewer: Can my attorney accept the subpoena for me?

Scott Engelhard: Yes, I can and generally do accept grand jury subpoenas for people. This avoids or minimizes the disruption and/or embarrassment caused by people being subpoenaed at their workplace or at home. Additionally, by avoiding law enforcement coming to the home or workplace of my client, they are protected from efforts to conduct interviews or gather evidence while serving the subpoena.  Also, I have often gained valuable information from the law enforcement agent or the attorney who is supervising that investigation in the process of discussing the subpoenas with them.

Interviewer: What is your experience in grand jury representation?

Scott Engelhard: I have been representing people in grand jury investigations for well over 25 years. I have represented hundreds and hundreds of grand jury witnesses as well as dozens and dozens of subjects and targets of the investigations that they found themselves a part of. I have had great results in successfully avoiding charges for people who are subpoenaed or are subjects or targets of the investigation. I have also had great success in getting the size and the scope of the grand jury investigation greatly reduced. It has also been my experience that you can negotiate cases to resolution during the grand jury process before someone has been indicted and get far better results than you can possible get after charges are filed. I have had great success in negotiating and getting fair resolutions of cases oftentimes. I have also found that in the grand jury representation process that I have been able to aggressively pursue legal and factual investigations that have resulted in greatly reduced charges and successful outcomes at trial.

Interviewer: Is it important to hire an attorney for grand jury representation, and if so, why?

Scott Engelhard: Yes, it is absolutely critical to hire a lawyer at this stage regardless if you are a witness, subject or target of the investigation. It is at this point that you can have the greatest influence on law enforcement – whether it be the FBI, the DEA, the police, the U. S. attorneys, or other prosecutors. Oftentimes, subpoenaed witnesses are in danger of becoming subjects or targets of the investigation and they need an experienced attorney to help guide them through the process to avoid getting caught up in the investigation and possibly charged. Subjects and targets of the grand jury investigation with experienced, aggressive counsel can often avoid charges being filed against them. And if charges are going to be filed, this is often the time to negotiate the best results possible. Finally, this time, before charges are file, can often be a critical time to preserve important evidence, interview critical witnesses, and develop legal strategies to put yourself in the best position possible to win at trial.

Interviewer: What first steps should be taken after receiving a subpoena?

Scott Engelhard: The very first step is a client meeting to fully discuss the facts and circumstances giving rise to the investigation. Next, I gather and analyze documents related to the investigation, contact important witnesses; and analyze the law related to the potential crimes under investigation. Also, I often contact the law enforcement agents and/or the prosecutors involved in the investigation in order to learn about the nature and extent of their investigation and to potentially influence that investigation to get the best results for my client.

About Our Services

Scott Engelhard has over 26 years of experience handling criminal cases in Federal Court and State Court. He has handled dozens of complex cases, and hundreds of smaller cases, at both trial and on appeal. If you or a loved one are under investigation for or charged with a crime, contact us for a free […]

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Legal Resources

As a graduate of UCLA School of Law and having argued many cases before the Washington Supreme Court as well as the Federal Ninth and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal, I will share with you the law applicable to your case and help you reach the best result possible in your case. Contact us with […]

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