Receiving a Grand Jury Subpoena

If you’ve received a subpoena demanding your presence at a grand jury, you might be scared or anxious. This post will explain what is happening, what it means for you, and what you should do.

What is a grand jury?

A grand jury is not the type of jury you typically see on television. This jury convenes before charges are filed. This jury is called to determine whether to bring an indictment against an individual (or several) for particular conduct the prosecutors (District Attorney, United States Attorney) believe may constitute a crime.

What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a document requiring one’s presence at a proceeding. You are required to show up at the date, time, and location specified on the subpoena.

Why did I receive a subpoena to testify before the grand jury?

You received a subpoena for one of two reasons:

 1)    The prosecutor believes you may have been a witness to a crime.

2)    The prosecutor believes you may have committed a crime.

What rights do I have?

As a witness in a grand jury proceeding, your rights are different than those of a criminal defendant pending trial. However, you do have a very important right, which is your 5th amendment right agains self-incrimination.

Right against self-incrimination 

Whether you are testifying as a witness to a crime or as a target of an investigation, you always maintain your right against self incrimination. That means if you believe you may have done something illegal, no matter how small, you can assert your fifth amendment rights, but only regarding that specific conduct.

Right to an attorney

This right is limited. If you have an attorney, that attorney can attend the proceeding with you, but they are not entitled to be in the room where you are testifying. They may have to wait outside, but you can talk to them when you have a question about incriminating yourself.  

If you’ve been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, contact an attorney immediately to discuss your options. Click here to schedule a call with us.


Victoria R. Clark appointed to DC's CJA Panel

We are excited to announce that our Managing Attorney, Victoria R. Clark, Esq., was appointed to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel in DC as a provisional member.

The CJA Panel is a group of attorneys and investigators committed to providing quality representation to indigent adults and children facing a loss of liberty in the District of Columbia. Enacted in 1964, the CJA establishes a comprehensive system for appointing and compensating legal representation for accused persons who are financially unable to retain counsel in federal criminal proceedings (plus those in the District of Columbia).

At Clark Law, we believe everyone is entitled to the best legal defense possible, and look forward to providing just that to those who need it most.

Contact us today to learn about our commitment to providing excellent legal services in the District of Columbia.

See Administrative Order 19-03 here.

Build Your Team!

Whatever your business, whatever your industry, you will work with others and the success of your business will depend on you forming relationships. At the outset, your business can have a single owner or multiple owners. If you are a part of an ownership team, the details of the ownership must be written and agreed upon by every member of the team. Each person should sign this agreement. This protects each member of the team in case of disagreements, disputes, or dissolution of the team. One of the most common responses we hear when asking about team structure is “he’s my brother, there’s nothing to worry about.” Although you love your brother/mother/best friend/husband who doubles as your business partner, you and every individual involved has his/her own interests. Each of you need to be protected individually.

The next step is hiring. Whether it’s a part or full-time employee or simply contracting services (paying someone to build a website, for example) you want to ensure that the terms of the arrangement are clearly spelled out. Companies you hire may already have standard agreements that they ask their clients sign. Make sure you read the agreement before you sign it and thoroughly understand all the terms outlined in the agreement. The most easily avoidable mistake anyone can make is not reading and understanding an agreement before signing it. If a company you work with does not have an agreement, you can and should have them sign an agreement.

Do you need help creating an agreement between your business partners?

Do you have questions about an agreement a company is asking you to sign?

Do you need help devising a strategy around building your team?

Contact Clark Law today to discuss how we can help.

So you’re starting a business series part 3: Protect Your Brand!

Second only to your product or service, your brand is everything. It is how people find out about you, remember you, and show you off to others. Your brand’s name, packaging, color, logo, all come together to boost your business’ credibility. Your customers care about your brand, and it must be protected! Many business owners find that once they get started and build recognition, others want to take advantage of their hard work. These copycats will create similar products with similar packaging, colors, and marketing strategies. You must ensure now that when this happens (because if your business is successful, it WILL happen), your brand is protected.

How do you protect your brand? A starting point is through applying for a trademark registration with the USPTO.

What does this mean? Basically, it is the words and/or images (logo!) that represents your business.

The application process with the USPTO can be long and complicated. At Clark Law, we recognize that your ideas and hard work are worth protecting and are here to help. Contact Clark Law today to find out how we can help you protect your brand.

So you’re starting a business series part 2: Registered your business entity? The government isn't through with you yet!

Depending on the product or service a business offers as well as the business location, there may be additional requirements imposed. Most industries have regulations affecting their operations and the operators in those industries. In the District of Columbia, all businesses must have a license to operate (with limited exceptions). There are licenses for specific business categories, and one catch-all license for businesses who do not fit into those categories. It is extremely important to ensure compliance with these regulations and/or licensing requirements at the very beginning of the creation of a business. The penalty for failure to do so is high, and often can be significantly more expensive and time consuming than the license application itself. Licenses should be included in the business budget, and regulatory compliance should always be a kept in mind.

Navigating these processes can be complex. Click here to schedule a consultation with Clark Law to discuss how we can ensure your business is properly licensed and compliant with applicable regulations.

So you're starting a business: a five-part series

Starting a business is exciting. The prospect of taking something you love--a hobby, a skill, a passion--and turning it into an income-generating business is relatively common. However, becoming so successful that you can quit your job and working on your business full-time is a dream that not many realize. In this series, we’ll discuss the 5 most important considerations in getting your business started.