Before a prosecutor can charge you with a white-collar crime, a grand jury must meet to decide if there is enough evidence to charge you with the crime. A grand jury is a group of people chosen from your local community or within your state. The state puts the jury together in the same way it puts together any other jury.
According to the Texas Constitution and Statutes, the duty of a grand jury is to hear evidence against individuals upon whom the prosecutor wishes to bring charges and make a decision on indicting the person. The grand jury does not decide whether you are guilty. They simply make the decision about bringing charges against you.
A grand jury is a unique situation. It is not a typical court procedure, but it is still a legal proceeding. Due to this, there are some different rules for who can be in the room and whom to involve in the process.
Because you are not on trial during grand jury proceedings, you do not have a right to be present or to have an attorney represent you during the proceedings. Know that you will have your chance to speak out against the charges and to make your case if the grand jury indicts you and your case goes before the court.
Those present during proceedings
Besides the actual jury members, the only people present for the proceedings are the prosecutor, a stenographer, bailiffs, witnesses called by the prosecutor and anyone needed to run electronic equipment. During deliberations, the only people in the room are jurors.
Grand jury proceedings do not include a judge because there is no decision on guilt and no need for anyone to hear a case. The only presentation is evidence and possibly witness testimony to prove the prosecutor has enough evidence to charge you with a crime.