Grand Jury Overview
New Jersey Grand Jury Proceedings
Being subjected to a Grand Jury hearing or investigation can be extremely unsettling. The obvious reason for this is the fact that a Grand Jury is in charge of determining whether or not someone can be subjected to criminal prosecution. Our lawyers can assist you in making sure you have the best chance of avoiding indictment. Our four (4) criminal attorneys possess over 60 years of experience and include two former prosecutors. We hope you find the information that follows of assistance and we encourage you to call us at 1-877-450-8301 if you would like to speak to an attorney knowledgeable about Grand Juries.
What Cases Are Heard by a Grand Jury. The NJ Constitution bars prosecution for a "crime" except where charges have been presented to a Grand Jury and it has returned an indictment. An offense is a "crime" requiring presentment to a Grand Jury where it involves a potential sentence of imprisonment of more than six (6) months. Charges of this nature are referred to as Indictable Offense and include First Degree, Second Degree, Third Degree, and Fourth Degree crimes.
Function of the Grand Jury. The role of a Grand Jury is not to decide guilt or innocence. Its function is rather to review facts and to determine whether or not sufficient evidence exists to require an individual to stand trial for a crime. A Grand Jury therefore serves as the gatekeeper for determining when a Felony Offense (i.e. Crimes of the First, Second, Third or Fourth Degree crimes) can be prosecuted by the state.
Grand Jury Determination. When an individual is charged with a crime, the related complaint is forwarded to the County Prosecutor. It is the prosecutor's obligation to present evidence to the Grand Jury regarding the charge. If the Grand Jury finds that there is enough evidence to warrant a trial for a particular crime, then an indictment is issued. If the factual presentation is insufficient to support prosecution, then a "No Bill" is issued. A Grand Jury may also downgrade charges to a Disorderly Persons Offense and remand the case to Municipal Court.
The following information has been compiled by our law firm regarding Grand Jury proceedings for your assistance: