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How Do You Know You’re Under Federal Investigation?

April 1, 2022 Federal Criminal Attorneys

A federal investigation is a very serious matter. This is an indication that the person or the people at the organization they work are being examined closely. People and organizations may be examined very closely under many circumstances. For example, someone may be under investigation because they are suspected of engaging in a crime such as embezzlement or bribery. They can also be part of a company where officials being people are violating the laws. Some people may be aware be they are the target of an investigation. However, others may not know there’s an investigation of any kind. If you suspect you’re being targeted, there are many ways you can find out and then think about your best course of action going forward.

Direct Interaction

One way you’ll immediately know if you’re under investigation is if someone from the government comes to your door. You might be fast asleep only to hear a knock on the door and find yourself in front of people from the government. They may be there to talk to someone in your household. Or, they might be there to speak to you personally. If they start to ask you questions about your behavior rather than about anything else, you can be sure that you’re probably the focus of the investigation. You have the right to ask the officials what’s going on and why. At the same time, you might want to immediately call for legal help to make sure your legal rights are protected.

A Search Warrant

Another way to find out that you’re under federal investigation is if you are served a search warrant. The search warrant gives the local authorities the right to investigate your home or your place of business. A search warrant is a highly specific legal document. It indicates that the officials have the right by law to be in a private space even if you disagree. Getting a search warrant can take a lot of time and effort. Officials who get one typically do so because they are targeting the individual or the organization because they have violated the law in some way. They will serve you the petition to let you know what’s going on formally. If you have a search warrant delivered to your door, you can assume that you’re under federal investigation and begin to plan a legal defense.

The Subpoena

This is another important and specific legal term that indicates that you are under investigation. You might get one out of the blue. You might also get one as part of a larger investigation. If you think you’re about to get this kind of legal notice, it is best to find out as soon as possible. A lawyer can notify you that this kind of document is about to get served. Keep in mind is a legal document. There are legal requirements that apply. It is not wise to ignore the subpoena even if you’re busy with other tasks.

The OIG Meeting

Those who work for the government or work with government agencies in some way may face a specific form of federal investigation. This is known as the OIG meeting. The OIG or the Office of the Inspector General is the part of the federal government that is entrusted with making sure that government officials always adhere to the standards required of them by law. Agents investigate possible misuse of government funds and other form of corruption. An agent for this agency may request a meeting with you. In that case, you can safely assume that you’re the target or part of a larger group of people being investigated by the federal government.

A Target Letter

A target letter is a specific letter designed to let someone know they are being investigated by the government. The letter will typically contain information about the investigation and any possible charges you might be facing. It may also contain an invitation for you to come down and speak to someone in power formally. You have the option to respond to the letter in some way. Make sure you have copies on hand so you’ll know what’s going on.

Other Associates

You might also hear about the investigation through your personal network. A co-worker might mention something or a boss might actually tell you there’s an investigation and you need to know about it. If you do find out about this, it’s best to make sure you have legal counsel as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you sort out what’s going and why. They can also help you discover what you might need to know about the scope of the investigation. Now is the time to reach out for help with this issue.

A prosecutor is an attorney that works for state and federal government. Their job is to enforce the laws of the nation by prosecuting people that break those laws. They have to make decisions on whether there is sufficient evidence in a case to merit moving forward to get a conviction.

Factors that Determine whether to Prosecute a Case

Once the accused has been charged with a crime, the prosecutor will gather all the information to accurately make a decision to move forward with the case. They will look at the accused person’s past criminal record to see if they are in trouble with the law frequently.

They will determine whether there is enough admissible evidence to warrant a conviction in the case for the costs involved to the government. The prosecutor has to be certain that law enforcement performed their duties without violation of any civil rights laws.

Another area that the prosecution might look at is whether prosecuting the accused would place undue hardship on their family. They may look at hardships on their family from a connection to the crime. The mental condition and attitude toward authority of the accused will be considered when the prosecution is evaluating the case.

The success rate of convicting people in the past for similar crimes can be a factor in whether the prosecution decides to move forward with the case. They might look at whether prosecuting the case will be a deterrent toward others to not commit similar crimes.

The question of reasonable doubt in the prosecutor’s mind about the accused being guilty could get the charges dropped. It might sway them from risking time and money trying to prosecute the case when a jury will find them not guilty.

The prosecution’s office might be stricter on certain types of crimes that they always take to trial. There could be political ambitions on the prosecutors side to convict everyone accused of a crime to move up to a higher office in government.

Prosecuting on a Lesser Charge to Gain a Conviction

Sometimes a prosecutor will offer a plea bargain to the accused in order to get a conviction on a smaller charge. They do this when there is a large caseload on their local court system to speed up cases scheduled for court. It is still a win-win situation for both the prosecution and the legal process.

Offering the accused a plea bargain deal is usually considered for non-violent cases. People who have never been in trouble with the law are also considered for plea bargains based on the less likelihood of them becoming repeat offenders.

The prosecutor might decide to offer the accused a deal to drop the initial charge with another charge with fewer penalties. This can happen where the evidence gathered is insufficient to win the case on the original charges.

Either way a prosecutor decides to pursue a case, the court system and the laws of the nation are upheld with dignity. Everyone involved in the judicial system usually gets a fair and balanced ending to any case, which includes those accused of a crime.

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