When you receive a target letter, you may not know whether you are a “witness” to the investigation, the “subject” of the investigation or the “target” of the investigation. If you are a “witness,” the government is asking you to provide information that can help them with their investigation. If you are a “subject,” you committed actions that the government believes would make you subject to a grand jury investigation. If you are a “target,” the federal government has a copious amount of evidence that connects you to the crime that they are investigating.
Since you are receiving this target letter, there is a possibility that you will be indicted. So, the first thing that you need to do is hire a federal defense attorney. The federal government sends you a target letter to let you know that you are currently under investigation and that you may be charged with a crime.
What Is a Target Letter?
The government begins to collect evidence in its case, and one way in which it does this is by sending people target letters. For example, a target letter informs you that the government requests that you visit the assistant U.S. attorney or testify before a grand jury.
You can expect the target letter to contain several pieces of information, including the following:
What Is the First Thing You Must Do after You Receive a Target Letter?
You must respond to this letter. If you fail to do so, you will be subject to receiving severe penalties. However, this does not mean that you should talk to federal authorities at this time. The federal criminal defense attorney you hire will do the talking for you. If you do speak to the federal authorities, you can explain to them that you would like to help them with their investigation but that you will only do so when you have a criminal defense attorney.
You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to an attorney. Exercise both of those rights. If you were to lie to the investigators, they may charge you with obstruction of justice, so just remain silent. The target letter may arrive after you decline to be interviewed during the initial questioning.
Your target letter may contain deadlines. These deadlines are often related to documents that the federal government will require you to submit to the grand jury. This letter will also inform you of very important information, such as where you need to go to give your testimony, when you need to go and at what time.
This is also the time when you need to assist your attorney with your defense. If you have documents that are relevant to the case, make sure that you gather those so that you can present them to your attorney. Any assistance that you can give to your attorney would be extremely helpful. The evidence that you may find in your possession may be evidence that could hurt your case. You must not destroy this evidence! If you do, the federal government can charge you with obstruction of justice and other criminal charges.
Remember that the only person you should speak to about this case is your criminal defense attorney. At the top of the list of people not to speak to would be federal agents, but you must also not speak to other law enforcement officials and the people you work with in your office. Most importantly, do not share anything on social media! Federal agents may check your presence on the internet, and if they see anything incriminating on your social media posts, they will use this against you. If you need to talk to someone about your case, make sure that you only do this when your attorney is present.
One or more of several government agencies may investigate the crime in question. These include the following:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
The job of ICE is to protect American citizens from foreign criminals and illegal immigrants.
The FBI protects American citizens from terrorist attacks and foreign intelligence threats.
The best thing to do first after receiving a target letter is hire a criminal defense attorney so that your attorney can get started on your defense immediately.
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