When Should a Witness at a Grand Jury Call a Defense Lawyer?

Serving as a witness before a grand jury is a stressful prospect for most people. It generally means that a prosecutor suspects you were somehow involved or informed of the details of a crime. To protect yourself and your rights, you should hire a witness at a grand jury defense lawyer in California.

Appearing before a grand jury limits your rights. It can be challenging to learn how to protect yourself and your interests in this stressful situation. A skilled defense attorney will know exactly how to proceed. They will also guide you through the process and protect your rights along the way.

What Does It Mean to Be Subpoenaed to Appear Before a Grand Jury?

A grand jury is an assembly of everyday citizens who come together to help a prosecutor decide whether or not to pursue criminal charges against someone. Grand juries are also notable for being confidential to encourage total honesty from witnesses.

If the grand jury indicts the defendant, the prosecutor benefits. They can proceed to the trial without going the extra step of proving that they have suitable evidence for a conviction.

When you are subpoenaed, you are called in as either a witness, a person of interest, or the main suspect. You must respond, and your testimony is mandatory. The court doesn’t automatically notify you which one you are, so when you make an appearance, you could get surprised when the questioning gradually reveals you’re a person of interest or even a target for conviction.

Ignoring your subpoena often leads to legal repercussions. The best thing you can do is meet with an attorney and determine the best course of action. If you fail to respond or show up, you can be found in contempt of court.

Though you can’t bring your attorney into court with you, you can consult with one before and after you testify. Your lawyer can help you prepare your testimony and sit with you afterward to discuss how it went.

Attorneys who have experience dealing with grand juries can save you hours of stress and help you find practical solutions to your concerns about grand jury investigations.

Why Do You Need a Defense Attorney?

When you receive a subpoena, it won’t be immediately clear if the prosecution simply regards you as a witness or if you are the target of the investigation. Without the guidance of a legal expert, it’s often impossible to find out ahead of time.

If you find yourself in this situation, a defense attorney is an essential ally. Your defense attorney can speak with the prosecution and determine if you are the target or merely a witness. This information allows you to prepare for your appearance in court adequately.

If you aren’t a target, your lawyer can still play a role in helping you prepare for the testimony. The prosecution may be able to inform your lawyer on the topics they plan to discuss, giving you more time to prepare instead of having to come up with answers on the spot.

If you know what they plan to ask about, you can spend time remembering what happened and getting your story as accurate as possible to avoid perjury. Your defense attorney can even negotiate to help you avoid testimony. Instead, the prosecution may be able to interview you informally instead of requiring you to perform an official legal testimony.

In short, it pays to have a defense attorney on your side when you are called upon to testify in front of a grand jury. Otherwise, preparation and the experience itself can be overwhelming. An experienced legal professional can be your greatest ally in this situation. 

How Can You Protect Yourself If You Are the Target of a Grand Jury Investigation?

If your defense attorney discovers that you are the target of the investigation, you’ll have time to prepare. Your defense attorney can propose different options for legal protection.

One option is to strike an immunity deal with the prosecution. Your defense attorney can handle the details of this deal. The type of immunity you are granted depends upon several factors, including the seriousness of your alleged criminal behavior.

Transactional immunity grants you full immunity from crimes related to your testimony in court. Use immunity, however, only grants you immunity from the prosecution using your testimony against you in the future. You may still be prosecuted for any criminal activity that comes up in your testimony.

While your lawyer isn’t allowed into the courtroom, they can wait outside and discuss matters with you. You’re allowed to leave the room and discuss your response with your lawyer before answering each question, and your lawyer may recommend that approach. This can save you from self-incrimination and keep your testimony focused. 

How Can a Defense Attorney Protect Witnesses for a Grand Jury?

Even if you are not the target of an investigation, there are plenty of reasons to hire an attorney to walk you through the process.

Presenting a testimony to a group of people is stressful, even if you aren’t the target of the trial. Your attorney can walk you through any concerns you have about your testimony and help you avoid self-incrimination.

At best, your attorney can help you avoid the most serious potential charges.

Get a Free Consultation From LibertyBell Law Today!

LibertyBell Law Group provides comprehensive support for our clients. We’re dedicated to answering questions promptly, and we even offer 24/7 support through our website. Our founder is an expert strategist who fights tirelessly for her clients, so you know you’re in the right hands.

Our team is packed with talented attorneys from different legal backgrounds, and our goal is to offer solutions to all clients’ needs. Contact us today for a free consultation where we can discuss your case and outline the support we’ll provide.

Best Civil Attorneys - Gina Tennen

Gina Tennen


At A Glance

  • Expert legal strategist.
  • Experienced in both prosecution and defense.
  • Relentless fighter for her clients with results to prove it.
  • Received the National Top 100 Trial Lawyers Award
  • Featured in Time Magazine’s “Leaders of Criminal Defense” in the 100 Most Influential People edition.

Executive Managing Attorney Gina Tennen is a renowned leading advocate of personal liberties. Her meticulous trial preparation and exceptional ability to pursue every possible defense has earned her the admiration of clients and respect from prosecutors, judges, and other criminal attorneys all over the nation.

Lawyer Tennen began her career as a Senior Law Clerk for one of the toughest District Attorney’s offices in the country where she gained remarkable experience in juvenile crimes, elder abuse, parole hearings, child abuse, sex and other serious crimes. Her experience at the District Attorney’s Office armed her knowledge and case strategy in exploiting the other side’s weaknesses for the client’s advantage and building a rock solid defense. Criminal attorney Tennen’s experience on both sides and brilliant maneuvering throughout is evidenced in her winning track record. In fact, even before earning her law degree, she was instrumental in getting excellent results on several criminal cases outshining her peers.

A consummate strategist and top criminal attorney, lawyer Tennen works tirelessly on many high profile criminal cases. She is known as a relentless fighter who never gives up on any case. Whether the case is hers or handled by another criminal defense attorney from LibertyBell Law Group, no matter how small the case may seem she asserts that every client deserves the right to the best legal representation.

It is her deep belief and what she has built her entire career and lifelong dedication to that there is always hope for every client and every avenue should be pursued regardless of the time and energy it takes. For criminal attorney, Gina Tennen, devoting the finest criminal defense for clients is a habit and talent that you must apply and do all the time.

You demand the best defense. Take hold of your life and speak to our defense attorneys by calling 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) now.

Founder Gina Tennen and all the sex offender attorneys at LibertyBell Law Group uphold that when the bell rings, it rings for life and liberty for all.


Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub.


I hired Gina and her team for my son who was facing 10 years for something they said he did when he was 17 years old. Gina was like a lioness protecting her cub. She did not stop. She fought hard and was able to defend the charges. We are so grateful to her and her team. They gave us our son. He recovered his life!

– L. W.
Best defense lawyers in the country.


I hired this law firm in 2014 for my son who was facing 16 years in prison for a felony robbery. Lina Helou answered all our questions. I was extremely distraught regarding what my son was facing but Lina comforted me and told me that it would be okay. And thank goodness LibertyBell saved my son from going to jail and they were able to obtain only 3 years of probation. I could not have hired a better law firm for my son and if you want the best defense call LibertyBell Law Group. Thank God for this great group of lawyers.

– V. J.
A great team of lawyers.


I do not have enough words to describe how incredible the experience with this firm was. They work very hard to make sure you have winning results. I could not have asked for better service from the moment I called, until my case was over. I was glad I made the right choice. Thank you again LibertyBell Law Group!

– S. O.
She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence.


My father had found this group through his company and coworkers. I was assigned Gina Tennen and I cannot explain in just a review on how gratefull I am to be working with her. My case was an accusation of unlawful sex. This had looked extremely bad on my part since I was in a fraternity and she was in a sorority. During these times with Greek life, there are too many bad stigmas surrounding these organizations. Gina had believed in me and knew that I was innocent and that these accusations just were not true. She took her time to review all of my evidence and proved my innocence. I totally recommend this law group because they are willing to put in the work to help your situation.

– C. D.
Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding.


When I first heard I was under a criminal investigation, I initially thought I would try and resolve this in the best way possible, without legal representation, as we were all interested in a "just" outcome. I quickly discovered that was not the case and contacted Gina at LibertyBell. She clearly described the expectations and the choices available to me. She was always available to me, and when I called, if she couldn't talk with me at that time, she would quickly get back to me. Gina always kept me fully aware of how the case was proceeding. Her fee's were stipulated up front, as well as what those fees covered and what they did not.

– S. B.
Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one.


Attorney Gina Tennen was on point from day one putting pressure on the sherrif's office to get things handled. With Child molestation accusatinos being thrown around Gina and Attorney Castro were great at keeping the pressure on and had no charges filled. The DCFS indications were appealed and we won with flying colors. Great service, great work, and will use again for all legal matters.

– A. B.
Will Recommend, Total Experience, Awesome Team


Being involved in legal matters can be scary. When researching who to put my trust in, I came across Liberty and I am glad that I did. From the first time that I met with Gina and her team she made me feel comfortable and listened to all that I had to say. She assured me that her team would be on it and that they would do everything that they could! A little while in, Alan took over my case. When meeting with him you can tell that this is his passion and I immediately knew he was going to do everything in his power to make the outcome right! He was relentless and worked day and night working on the case. He kept in constant communication with me and truly cared not only about me but about my family as well. I am forever grateful for the support that this whole team has given me and would definitely recommend them to anyone who is looking for truly the best lawyers!

– L. B.
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