What is a grand jury and what are your rights if your case is being presented to a grand jury?
A grand jury subpoena compels appearance and testimony. Witness rights are limited, but legal advice is important for the outcome of the investigation.
Your Rights in Grand Jury Proceedings
A grand jury is a group of citizens chosen at random to represent the power of the people under the law. Grand juries can hear evidence and investigate the possibility that one or more persons have engaged in criminal activity. Using a grand jury is one of two ways that the government can charge a person with a crime. When a grand jury super-majority agrees, they can indict a person or persons for criminal charges.
Due Process and Right to Counsel
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against wrongful use of criminal charges by the government. It requires a finding of probable cause by a neutral party. The Fifth Amendment prohibits bringing charges except by way of an indictment using a grand jury or criminal information approved by a judge. The indictment power belongs to the grand jury function.
The grand jury proceeding is an investigation rather than a trial before a jury. Because no one has been accused of a crime, there is no right to counsel in the room where the jury questions witnesses. If you must appear before a grand jury, then you may benefit from the assistance of counsel.
You can prepare for testimony and ask questions of your attorney during the proceeding, but only if it’s outside of the hearing room. An experienced criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque can provide area residents with representation in grand jury investigations.
Grand Jury Under Federal Rules
The federal rules of criminal procedure establish the requirements for grand jury proceedings in federal cases. The rules require that the panels consist of between 16 and 23 members, and the panel pool must be large enough to remain this size throughout the investigation. The grand jury can hear evidence of nearly every kind. Its findings establish probable cause but not guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Grand Jury Under New Mexico Rules
State law requires a vote of 12 jurors to indict. The subject matter of grand jury proceedings is criminal conduct that is in the public interest. It could sometimes involve criminal negligence. Depending on the focus of the proceedings, a medical malpractice attorney in New Mexico may be involved. In some instances, grand jury investigations center on cases involving fatalities, so they may call upon the knowledge of a wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque.
We Are Here to Help
In addition to offering legal advice during grand jury investigations, we assist with a variety of legal needs. If you’re looking for an auto accident lawyer in Albuquerque or a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque, we’re ready to assist you.Read More
What are your rights if you are being criminally investigated?
Learn more about what to do when you are under criminal investigation. Having the proper knowledge can help you protect your rights.
Criminal Investigations: Protecting Yourself
At the beginning of every criminal case is an investigation conducted by the police or other law enforcement agency. At times, this investigation period can be brief. For example, in most DWI investigations, the process normally consists of “tailing” the vehicle, questioning the driver, and collecting physical evidence. In other cases, the investigation may be longer. In these situations, you may or may not be aware the police are investigating you.
It is important that you secure a criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque any time you are communicating with law enforcement. If you are being investigated for a crime, an experienced law firm can help protect your rights. It is important to note that police officers and law enforcement agents are trained to make arrests and put people in jail. They are not necessarily advocating for you or looking out for your best interests.
If the police have been contacting you regarding a criminal investigation, you want to exercise the following important rights.
Right to Leave
If you are not under arrest and have not been read your Miranda Rights under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, you can leave. The best strategy is to ask the officer involved in the situation. If he or she claims that you are not under arrest, you should exit the situation and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to help determine your next steps.
Right to Privacy
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution provides you the right to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures of your property. You have the right to refuse a search of your home, car, land, or your own self unless the police show a search warrant.
Right to Remain Silent
Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself. If the police are questioning you, invoke this right and remain silent. You should also request that your attorney be present to ensure that your rights are protected.
Right to an Attorney
Under the Sixth Amendment, you have the right to an attorney. If you’re a suspect in a crime, or just concerned that you may be one, you want to exercise this right and retain a qualified lawyer. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately may help you avoid criminal charges.
If you are a suspect in a crime, call Bowles Law Firm today for help in dealing with police investigations in New Mexico. Additionally, Jason Bowles has become known as the medical malpractice attorney New Mexico clients rely on. Moreover, if you or a loved one has been looking for a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque, a wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque, or an auto accident lawyer for Albuquerque court cases, you can turn to us for assistance.Read More
What is the New Mexico Tort Claims Act and How Does it Work?
Take a look at the New Mexico Tort Claims Act to learn more about what it entails. It is very important in some legal cases.
What Is the New Mexico Tort Claims Act?
The New Mexico Tort Claims Act is a law stating that, in many cases, government entities and employees are exempt from liability for any kind of tort, which refers to a personal injury. If you’ve been through a car accident or have received any kind of injury that you believe a government entity or employee is responsible for, this law could play a role in your case.
How the New Mexico Tort Claims Act Works
In short, this law states that any government entity or employee cannot be held liable in court if they have caused harm to another private person or company while acting within the scope of their employment duties. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however.
The immunity provided under the Act is waived if personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage occurs as the result of a public employee’s negligence while driving a motor vehicle or watercraft, using machinery or other equipment for building or park maintenance, or overseeing airport operations. New Mexico public employees are also exempt from immunity under the Act if they acted negligently and caused personal harm, death, or property damage while operating public utilities, maintaining public roads and other infrastructure, or working at state-employed medical facilities.
How to Find the Right Attorney
If you’re wondering whether to hire a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque or a medical malpractice attorney in New Mexico to help with your case filed under the New Mexico Tort Claims Act, you’ll find that the answer depends on the type of injury or damage that occurred. In most cases, selecting a wrongful death attorney in Albuquerque or a personal injury attorney is the right choice. However, there are instances in which an auto accident lawyer in Albuquerque might be more suited to your case.
Although the New Mexico Tort Claims Act provides immunity in some instances, the law can be complicated. Speaking with a professional attorney at Bowles Law Firm will help you understand how to best proceed with your case. Call today for assistance from a skilled criminal defense attorney in Albuquerque with experience in several practice areas.Read More