It may be unsettling to find out that you are among the targets of a federal government investigation. However, it’s important to understand that simply being the target of an investigation doesn’t mean that you’ve done anything wrong. It’s also important to note that you have rights that must be respected throughout the legal process. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the first steps that you should take after learning of your status as a person of interest in a federal case.
You Don’t Have to Respond Right Away
There is a chance that you’ll receive notice that you are the target of an investigation through the mail. You may also receive a phone call inquiring about your availability to sit down for an interview. In such a scenario, you will probably have a few days or weeks to decide what you want to do.
If you are confronted by the authorities at your home, place of business or anywhere else, you may be asked to join them as they return to local headquarters. However, it’s important to understand that you do not need to say anything to anyone who is not your attorney.
Regardless of how you are contacted, your first move should be to hire an attorney who can provide more insight into what the government might want. A legal adviser will also be able to sit with you during an informal interview or interrogation. This may minimize the risk that you say anything that might implicate you in the case.
Obtain Any Evidence That Might Help Clear Your Name
There may be many lines of evidence that can be used to help you eliminate yourself as a person of interest in a federal investigation. For instance, you might be able to use copies of old social media posts to prove that you were out of the country when a domestic drug deal took place. It might also be possible to use bank statements to show that you weren’t laundering money or engaging in other forms of financial crimes.
Although these pieces of evidence may not be enough to avoid prosecution, it may help you build a defense to whatever charges the government may bring. Your attorney will likely be able to use social media posts, bank statements or other documents to create a favorable narrative in the matter. If successful, the narrative that your legal adviser creates will help convince jurors that you shouldn’t be penalized too harshly for your actions.
Don’t Talk About the Case Publicly
As a general rule, you don’t want to say or do anything that might give the government reason to believe that you’ve committed a crime. Therefore, it is in your best interest to avoid talking about the case to friends, family members or the media. It’s also a good idea to avoid posting to social media sites as you don’t know who may be following your account.
If you do feel the need to make a statement, you should do so through your attorney. This will help to ensure that anything that is released to the public portrays you in a positive light. Furthermore, your legal counsel will understand how to talk to the public without saying anything that might imply that you took part in an illegal activity.
You should know that anything that is said to your attorney is considered to be privileged information. Therefore, you don’t have to remain silent when in this person’s presence. In fact, you will be encouraged to be as honest as possible about your potential involvement in the case as it can make it easier for your legal adviser to do his or her job.
If you are the target of a federal investigation, it’s important that you don’t give the government a reason to charge you with a crime. Ideally, the first thing that you’ll do after finding out that you’re being investigated is to hire an attorney. A legal professional can help you gather documents, make statements to the public or take other steps that may allow you to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. If you are convicted of a crime, your legal counsel may be able to file an appeal on your behalf.
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