The Fifth Amendment requires that a grand jury bring charges against a person who is charged with a felony in federal court and in some state courts, explains the University of Dayton School of Law. The federal court system has regular and special grand juries.
In the federal court system, a felony is a crime that requires a sentence of more than one year in prison or the death penalty, notes Cornell University Law School. After a prosecutor presents evidence to a regular federal grand jury, the jury votes whether to return an indictment, the document used to charge someone with a crime. The process does not require a unanimous vote; a majority vote suffices.
Special federal grand juries investigate organized crime and government corruption, states University of Dayton School of Law. Grand juries do not investigate civil matters.