The Postal Inspection Service is the branch of government that is responsible for investigating shipments and packages that have suspicious content in them. If the letter you receive comes from the Criminal Investigations center, you need to speak to a lawyer. The letter will have a 1-800 number listed. But if you call it, whatever you say may be used in the federal investigation against you. It’s best to talk to your lawyer immediately to find out what the charges are and how serious the situation is.
A lawyer can help navigate you through the investigation so that you have the maximum chances of walking away without charges. Your attorney can also protect you from having knowledge of the letter leak to the public. This is important since criminal investigations can have serious repercussions for your family life and job.
It’s intimidating and scary to get an unexpected letter from a federal law enforcement agency. You might not even be sure why you’re being contacted. You’ll probably want to know why the letter has arrived, whether you’re being suspected of a crime, whether you could get in federal criminal trouble, and what you can do to avoid being charged and potentially going to jail.
The first and only person you should talk to is your attorney. You should not tell anyone else about the letter. You should not call the number. You should only call your lawyer.
It’s also important that you don’t draw any conclusions about the situation based on quick online research. You shouldn’t contact the person who may have sent the package or tell them about the letter. Every letter is extremely specific to the individual and circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all explanation for this situation.
When you’re keeping the letter to yourself, that means completely to yourself: Don’t talk to your family, your friends, or law enforcement about it. You should never speak to any member of law enforcement without your lawyer present, even if they seem to be trying to help. Law enforcement officials are trained to trick you into incriminating yourself. Do not talk to them in person, in writing, on the phone, or through email.
It is tempting to call the number on the letter. Most people do, because they want to find out about the investigation and whether they are in danger. But contacting the government will make your lawyer’s job more difficult. The job of the government is to reap information that can be used against you later. They will not tell you anything useful about the investigation, and they will only answer your questions far enough to get information out of you.
The goal of the government is to make you incriminate yourself. And even if you don’t think you’ve committed a crime, it’s very easy to incriminate yourself without realizing it. Investigators can trap you into doing so.
If you withhold information or lie when you contact a federal agency, you can be found guilty of a felony. But you have the right to have a lawyer present whenever you speak to law enforcement. In fact, your lawyer may be able to do most of the talking for you.
Any falsehood or misrepresentation that you make in a conversation with a federal agent is a felony. It comes with a maximum of five years in prison. Federal agents are also allowed to lie to you during your conversations. They may lie about the nature of the investigation, lie about you not being in trouble, or lie about the amount of information they know. That’s why it’s important not to trust the federal law enforcement agent even when they appear to be on your side.
So if you have been contacted by the Postal Service about a suspicious package being mailed to you, you need to talk to a federal lawyer with previous experience dealing with the Postal Service.